Not enough time: one young voter’s struggle to register

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By Ray Wilbur

Traffic cleared and Lizzie Ausmus led me across Grand River Ave towards the MSU Union. She only had 25 minutes for an interview, in between work and her class at the engineering building.

Ausmus is a bio-systems engineering junior, and she rarely has time for anything besides class and work.


Lizzie Ausmus stands in the Engineering Building at MSU.

“It’s a struggle a lot of the time,” she said. “I don’t really have what you would call the normal college life.”

Alongside her demanding classes, Ausmus works at the Timbers Golf Club every weekend as a caddie.

This is the main reason Ausmus said she has yet to register to vote for the Nov. 8 presidential election. But, that isn’t to say she won’t be.

“I normally don’t get into politics too much,” she said. “But this election is very important to me, I want to be active in it.”

For Ausmus, this is the first election she is eligible to vote. She said she feels that she has an obligation to vote — especially in this election — which she said has polarized her friends and family.

“I don’t want to regret not having my voice heard if my candidate doesn’t get elected,” she said.

Millennials make up roughly 31 percent of the overall electorate in America, according to a Pew Research Study, which means young people like Ausmus could have a large impact if they make it to the polls.

Ausmus said she’s aware of the impact young people can have on presidential elections but is uncomfortable with her peers’ methods of discussing politics and this election in particular because of it’s toxicity, she said.

“I feel like people complain and then just don’t vote,” she said. “And then they don’t like who’s in office and they complain more. I don’t want to be that person.”

While Ausmus does plan on registering to vote, she said she knew barely anything about it and that the task was daunting.

“It seems long and painful,” she said.

Ausmus has never voted but said she does find myriad political issues important to her life.

She said her number one worry in this election is foreign policy, since, she said, one of the candidates seems to have an inadequate grasp on how they would handle diplomacy and foreign relations. She wouldn’t say which candidate that was.

“I’m nervous about war and what it could mean if we have that person as our president,” she said. “It’s unsettling to know they could have nuclear launch codes.”

Aside from foreign policy, Ausmus said she sees immigration as another crucial issue, especially now, when Europe is faced with a refugee crisis caused by civil war and fighting in Syria.

She said she would like to see a president who is compassionate towards Syrian refugees and their lives.

“I think what Trump has said about immigrants and their families is inexcusable,” she said. “I do see the argument for security, but he is too much.”

Ausmus’ watch beeped, alerting her it was time for her three o’clock biology lab. It was her third class of the day, the second of which to be two hours or more.

“See, this is why I’m not registered yet,” she said.

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