The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in
the 2000 presidential election, voter participation among
18-to-24-year-olds was 36 percent, a reminder of voter apathy among
this demographic. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) recently
introduced a proposal to the Senate that would make Election Day
— the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November
which falls on Nov. 2 this year — a national holiday. This
would provide opportunities for everyone, including the busy
college student and the parent working overtime, to vote in the
elections.

Candace Mui

As the school year ends, it is easy for students to forget the
responsibilities associated with voting and forget to take the
proper precautions to ensure their votes count in November. It is
important that college students make the time to go to the polls
and vote, despite the bureaucratic obstacles college students
should be aware of and prepared for by November. In order to vote,
Michigan residents must register at least 30 days prior to the
election. This can be a hassle for those unfamiliar with this
requirement, and first-time voters should plan to register well in
advance in order to ensure their eligibility.

In-state students who are not permanent Ann Arbor residents face
further problems. If students register by mail, they must vote in
person at the polls the first time they vote in an election. This
can be burdensome, particularly for those students swamped with
schoolwork and those who have no convenient means of getting home
to vote.

Students who wish to have the voting rights as an Ann Arbor
resident need to change their address to Ann Arbor. But those who
wish to vote at home in November should vote in the smaller local
elections during summer vacation so that they can vote by absentee
ballot when classes resume.

With so many issues directly impacting students, from state and
federal budget cuts to the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and
affirmative action, students should remember the importance of the
approaching election and their responsibility to weigh in. Setting
aside Election Day as a national holiday will only help curb this
disturbing trend by giving all citizens ample opportunity to get to
the polls.

Currently, voter turnout among college students is
disappointingly low, showing government officials that they have
has no political incentive to create or sustain policies that are
conducive to students’ needs. Come November, all students
should make the time to get out and vote and prove them wrong.

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