The Michigan Democratic presidential
caucuses are fast approaching, and Democrats across the state have
made voting easier than ever before. With the ability to vote
online, by mail or in person, Michigan residents have the
opportunity to heavily influence who the next Democratic
presidential candidate will be. Besides its obvious importance in
determining how the country is run, voting also gives students a
chance to do something that truly makes a difference in their own
lives. The Michigan caucuses are critical in the upcoming
presidential election, and University students should take
advantage of this importance by voting and making their voices
heard.

Janna Hutz

The Michigan caucuses take place on Feb. 7, but applications to
vote online and by mail are already being accepted, and as of last
Friday, the Michigan Democratic Party had already received 10,000
applications. Registered voters can vote through the mail, on the
internet, or in person at one of the state’s 576 caucus
sites. The voting site for the University is the Michigan Union.
Applications to vote online or by mail can be found at
“http://www.applytovote.com”>www.applytovote.com, and must be
received by Jan. 31, and all mailed ballots must be returned by 10
a.m. on Feb. 7. All Internet voting must be completed by 4 p.m. on
the same day.

Unregistered voters can vote in person at any caucus site on
Feb. 7 between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. Unregistered voters now include
any 17-year-olds who will have turned 18 by Nov. 2 of this year. In
order for 17 year-olds to vote, they must show up at the caucus
site with an ID, sign that they are a Democrat (which must be done
by all voters) and promise to vote in the Nov. 2 presidential
election. This new category of young voters, over 100,000 strong in
Michigan, has drawn a lot of attention in this campaign, and those
who fall into this category should go vote. This is a great way for
students to have a say in their government. A way to increase the
number of students who will vote would be for all Michigan high
school teachers to offer extra credit to their senior classes if
they go to a polling site, and for those who are able, vote for one
of the eight candidates.

This year’s Michigan caucuses will play a large role in
determining who the Democratic presidential candidate will be. In
the 2000 Michigan Democratic caucuses, there were only 20,000 total
voters. In marked comparison, early predictions say that about
400,000 voters plan to turn out for the caucuses this year. This
huge increase in voter participation is due in part to the fact
that Michigan has made large advances in Internet voting. The state
has even gone so far as to provide free Internet access stations in
many urban areas for people who would like to vote online but
cannot access the Internet at home. Online voting has also done a
lot to appeal to students and other younger voters, most of whom
use the Internet frequently.

With many of the candidates focusing on how to curb the
ever-rising prices of college tuition and in light of the important
international events transpiring at this time, the Michigan
Democratic caucuses hold special significance for University
students. The next president of the country, and the actions he
takes will impact the lives of all citizens. Students should
recognize this and respond by turning out to the caucuses and
having a say in their future.

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