City sought more voting in town, on campus

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By Jamie DeRosa
Entirely East Lansing

While this year’s Election Day turnout is expected to be smaller for East Lansing than it was for the presidential election two years ago, the number of ballots coming in showed an improvement from the off-term election four years ago.

“It’s definitely higher than in 2010, which was the last general election. In terms of absentee voter ballots, for example, we issued about 1,800 in 2010 and we’ve now issued close to 2,100. I expect we’ll be receiving more,” said City Clerk Marie Wicks. “The voter turnout has already been heavy and I even ordered 3,700 extra ballots just to make sure we’re covered, and sent out extra booths to the voting locations. I’m anticipating a really good turnout.”

East Lansing has 17 precincts covering the city Michigan State University campus. Voting sites include houses of worship around the city, the Bailey and Hannah community center and locations around campus such as all IM locations and Brody hall.

While hopes were high at City Hall for a higher turnout than 2010, some voters said they did not think there was a lot of action inside precincts.

“There was not a lot of people inside. Here it is 12 o’clock and I walked right in and was able to vote,” said East Lansing resident Steve Zumberg on his way out of Precinct Three. “I voted both in 2010 and 2012 in Oakland County and in 2012 it was a lot more crowded, but you know full election year is always busier.”

Other citizens said Tuesday felt quieter and laid it to a lack of interest in the community.

“I’ve voted every year. it was not crowded in there,” said Ronald Fowlar. “There is less people and less activity outside like there used to be. I don’t think people are caring anymore.”

While citizens did not seem optimistic about a higher turnout around the city, hopes are high that student turnout will be up. The city has taken several steps to improve student voting, including a more convenient arrangement of precincts and more education for students in apartments about registering to vote.

“I anticipate a really good student turnout. We’ve had a great YouVote vote effort which is a group on campus that’s been working on registering students,” City Clerk Marie Wicks said. “I’ve already been on campus and visited several of the precincts and they’re not super busy but their steady, which is better than it has been in a long time, so I’m very hopeful that the students are going to turn out and vote, as well!”

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