Students gearing up for election

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Josh Sidorowicz
MSU School of Journalism

For the first time this November, Cody Hibbs will cast a vote for President of the United States.

And he’s pretty excited about it too.

The supply chain management senior and vice-chairman of the Michigan State College Republicans wasn’t old enough to vote in the 2008 election.

“I was pretty bummed about missing the last election,” Hibbs said. “There’s been a lot of discussion about how historic the last election was, but politics itself is kind of history in the making and I’m glad to be a part of it now.”

Like Hibbs, the majority of students on MSU’s campus will be voting in a presidential election for the first time this year, and getting those students registered to vote has become a top priority for some groups.

The deadline to register to vote in the November general election is Oct. 9.

Michigan’s Secretary of State has been taking mobile offices to college campuses across the state for voter registration drives.

Dubbed “ExpressSOS,” the statewide tour was set up by Michigan’s Secretary of State Ruth Johnson in an effort to get all eligible voters in the state registered.

“It’s a great opportunity for people and it’s a convenient option for college students,” said Fred Woodhams, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State. “We’ve been very pleased with the turnout and participation around the state so far.”

The “ExpressSOS” tour made a stop to MSU’s campus on Sept 14 near the rock on Farm Lane.

Woodhams said the mobile offices also offered students who were already registered to vote the opportunity to change their addresses.

“They can easily update their address so they’re able to vote while they’re still at school, as opposed to being registered at their home address,” he said.

Organized by the MSU College Democrats, “Dorm Storm” is another effort to get as many students registered to vote as possible, regardless of party affiliation.

The registration effort is a weekly occurrence with volunteers going door-to-door through the on-campus residence halls to ask students if they want to register to vote.

“When we go out, at first they might not know what they’re getting themselves into or what to expect,” said Curtis Audette a social relations and policy sophomore and communications director for the MSU College Democrats.

“But after we talk to them for a bit we realize that want to vote and they want to be able to have a say.”

Audette said the biggest issues he’s noticed that are resonating the most with students revolve around education and debt forgiveness, as well as social issues regarding women’s issues and marriage equality for the LGBT community.

“We’re not just registering them to vote, we’re also trying to educate them too,” Audette said. “We’ve found those education and social issues are the ones that students really tend to latch onto.”

Audette said he still sees a lot of enthusiasm and interest among the student body in terms of getting involved in the campaigns and wanting to know about the most pressing issues facing the nation and college-aged students.

However, Hibbs said he hasn’t quite seen that same enthusiasm yet on campus.

“I haven’t seen the full-fledged engagement yet that I expected to see,” Hibbs said. “It’s still a little early yet but I’m surprised I haven’t seen more, but we’ll see where it goes once we get into October.”

But Hibbs said he’s optimistic that things will pick up and he’s confident that the group will be able to continue to rally support on campus for Mitt Romney and the other Republican candidates on this year’s ballot.

“You see a lot of young college students who say they’re Democrats or liberal, but most of them aren’t active in politics,” he said.

“But I think that a lot of young conservatives are much more active and passionate, and I’m really excited to get engaged and to get the debate going.”

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