By Erin Hampton
Entirely East Lansing staff writer and photographer
An ordinance requiring landlords to give off-campus Michigan State University tenants voting information will be effective for the first time in the East Lansing City Council election on Nov. 5. The voting information and form given to each tenant at the time of occupancy is meant to encourage students to be active in East Lansing elections.
The ordinance was passed in February and was backed by East Lansing’s Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett. It states that landlords must give tenants provided voting information including a voter registration application and FAQ sheet upon the time of the tenant’s occupancy.
The goal was to get voting registration information to off-campus students who don’t get the information from voter registration drives as on-campus students do. He said that off-campus students are not as likely to vote simply because of this imbalance in information distribution.
Sam Artley, a city council candidate, supported the ordinance and spoke positively of it at the council meeting when it was passed in February.
“That was a great ordinance,” said Artley. “Unfortunately, students don’t vote in city council elections. Students don’t get involved, but we affect their day to day lives more than they know.”
Artley said that the ordinance is a great way to bridge the gap between the East Lansing government and MSU students and that it could help her in the election.
She added that typically, out of an entire precinct, only about 15 MSU students come out to vote for city council. A reason for this can be because it’s difficult to get access into locked dorms and apartment complexes to tell students about the election and get them registered.
“Safety is our first priority so we wouldn’t want apartments and dorms open,” Artley said. “but, then again, they need to know about the elections.”
Artley also mentioned that most students are at a disadvantage when it comes to voting for East Lansing.
“We don’t fairly educate them, because most ordinances are passed in the summer time when students are are not paying attention. That puts them at a disadvantage.”
Deepa Varghese, an MSU graduate student living in Cedar Village Apartments who has been off campus for four semesters, said that she would be interested in voting in this sort of election, although she did not receive the information.
“Yes,” Varghese said. “I would do it if I was given this sort of information.”
Lavon Johnson, an MSU student living in Abbott Pointe Apartments, said that unlike the national presidential election, an East Lansing City Council election does not interest her, because East Lansing is not her permanent residence.
“I really just don’t care,” said Johnson.
Absentee ballot voting begins Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and ends on Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. A list of the polling locations, voting FAQs and other election information can be found on East Lansing’s website.