MI First Election
MSU is providing students with vital information about voting through the YouVote committee for the presidential election.
With the 2016 election approaching, many millennials will be voting for the first time. As new voters, some lack the knowledge of who is running for president, and many don’t know where to begin the voting process. YouVote is an ASMSU committee designed to help students in that age group.
YouVote uses different student groups to spread the word about voting and inform students on how to register to vote, where they can vote and what’s going to be on the ballot. YouVote got its start in 2000.
Junior and political theory major Bryn Williams is the head of the office of VP government affairs. Williams is in his third year working on YouVote.
Williams said, “The three main principles of YouVote are registration, education and engagement. We try to get students engaged in the political process through voting, but also informed voting so they know what they are going to do.”
All the distractions students face can make them feel disconnected from the political process. YouVote can get students involved and make voting easier by facilitating voter registration drives and getting information out about what’s on the ballot without giving students a partisan spin.
Williams said that educating students is one of the biggest components of the YouVote committee.
Williams said, “The crazy rules we have in this state for voting and voter registration makes it honestly really challenging for some students, which I think is a larger issue that needs to be addressed.”
John Dowell, a Michigan State University faculty member who is a part of YouVote, started with the committee in 2002. Dowell believes very strongly that everyone should exercise their right to vote.
Dowell said, “As far as I’m concerned, you’re not a citizen until you vote. You don’t deserve to be an American until you vote.”
To help educate students about the election, Williams and YouVote are trying to get a presidential candidate to come to MSU to talk about student issues later this spring.
Williams said he can’t confirm which candidate it will be, but ASMSU has allocated $35,000 to make this happen. However, Williams did say that it will be during the first week of March and will be held at the Breslin Center.
MSU senior engineering major Ian McGregor said he is planning to vote in the election and would like to be more informed on the issues and thinks YouVote is a great way for students to get reliable information.
McGregor said, “Of course I’m going to vote. It’s the only way we have any say in government. It’s how we don’t have a dictatorship. Why wouldn’t you vote?”
Williams said that his goal is to get 15,000 students on campus to register to vote.
Dowell said that YouVote is successful in getting students registered and having many hits on the website, however he said that isn’t good enough.
Dowell said, “I think it is successful, but that is not enough. I think anything under 100 percent participation isn’t good enough. There’s a fashion statement that I am always behind, which is wearing that sticker that says ‘I Voted’.”