While some students spent a couple minutes walking to area polling sites yesterday and others chose to ignore Election Day 2002 altogether, University alum Aashish Shah spent hours driving around southeast Michigan trying to vote.
Shah was experiencing a problem common among college students – not knowing where to place his votes.
After graduating last year, Shah moved to Farmington Hills for a new job, but forgot to update his voter registration card. After attempting to vote in his local precinct, he was told to come back to Ann Arbor. But that attempt failed as well, since the address on his driver’s license did not match the one on his voter registration card.
“I’ve been trying to vote since 4:00,” Shah said at 7:30 p.m., standing outside the Michigan Union polling site. Although he was frustrated running out of time, he said he understood why he was having difficulty and was still anxious to vote.
“I drove down here, went into the polling booth and then they couldn’t find my name,” he said. “I don’t mind so much that they couldn’t find my name, but the fact that the clerk’s office has no record of my previous voting history makes me wonder.”
While others also said they experience some difficulty prior to voting, most were able to vote before the polls closed at 8 p.m.
“Until an hour ago, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to vote because I never got anything in the mail,” Law student Sarah McDonald said, adding that she used web-based resources provided by election officials to determine that she was eligible to vote before heading over to the Union.
“I just think voting is important. I just moved here and thought I should get involved in Michigan politics.”
Many students who were voting in Ann Arbor chose not to vote in their hometowns, but their reasons for doing so varied.
Some wanted to vote at home but did not have a car and did not want to cast an absentee ballot. Others said they felt the Michigan elections are more important than elections in their home states because Michigan does not have a strong Democratic or Republican stance.
“I’m not from Michigan, but I decided to vote in Michigan as opposed to sending in an absentee ballot because this state doesn’t vote consistently, and I felt a vote here may weigh more than a vote in my home state,” said LSA sophomore Hilary Baer, who is from California.
– The Associated Press
contributed to this report.