Millennials’ low polling numbers due to lack of registration

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By Caitlin DeLuca
The Williamston Post

EAST LANSING, Mich. – With the presidential primaries approaching, many citizens are getting geared up to vote. However, Millennials are falling to the wayside due to lack of registration. 

Deanna Kapitanec, MSU sophomore, looks up how to register to vote on a study break.

Deanna Kapitanec, MSU sophomore, looks up how to register to vote on a study break.

According to a study done by New America, a nonprofit and nonpartisan public policy institute, below 40 percent of Millennials were registered to vote in 2012. The rest of the country was just below 60 percent.

One of the reasons many fail to register is that they have no idea how to do so.

In the state of Michigan, citizens can register to vote in person at a city or county clerk office or a Secretary of State office.

Another option is registering by mail, though that means voting in person your first time

The other way to register to vote is to register in person for an absentee ballot, which is for those who don’t live full time in their hometowns, like many students. The ballot is sent by mail to the citizen’s current residence, which they can then mail back or return it in person to cast their vote.

This information is somehow lost on Millennials.

“I don’t know how and I never got around to it,” said Deanna Kapitanec, a 19-year-old Michigan State University sophomore.

“Do I have to do it online? Or send a request and get something in the mail? I really don’t know,” she said.

Madeline Guzzo, also a 19-year-old sophomore from MSU, repeated those sentiments.

“I’m not [registered]. I just haven’t gotten around to it,” Guzzo said. “I think maybe we think it’s too hard of a process or maybe inconvenient or maybe they just aren’t informed on politics and don’t care to vote.”

Jaded Millennial voters are a common theme. After living through things like Sept. 11, the Great Recession and a gridlocked government, many don’t care to even bother with politics. They feel like nothing they do, voting or otherwise, will even make a difference.

In fact, many don’t even identify with a political party. 50 percent of Millennials identify as politically independent, according to the New America study.

East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks thinks that this embitterment with politics plays a big role in lack of participation.

“People are disillusioned with what’s available out there,” she said.

“I think it’s a feeling of being powerless, too. It has been really tough in the last 10 years to get a job after graduation, so I would speculate that students are feeling kind of like your economic situation may color your interest in participating in politics.”

Kapitanec backed up Wicks’ statement by professing her disinterest in politics.

“Personally, I’m not informed. I know it sounds bad, but politics are not my thing. I know I should be keeping up more,” Kapitanec said.

“I really only get my political information off Saturday Night Live and Vine,” she said.

Wicks also finds that the Millennials she encounters also think registering is much harder than it is.

“What I hear from students coming in is they don’t realize how simple [registering] is. They think that they have to fill out this whole packet and literally it’s one page,” Wicks said.

“It’s really easy to register to vote and it’s really easy to vote.”

What Wicks wants Millennials to know above all else is this: “The deadline in order [to register] to vote is Feb. 8, so it’s easy, it’s one piece of paper, come in and do it.”

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