Nov. 7 is election day in East Lansing. As the East Lansing community prepares to make key decisions about their future near and far, it is important to gain knowledge on how to begin voting and on what to vote on.
“The income tax issue is obviously going to be very important for voters.” says East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks. “I would encourage people to get a lot of information before they definitively vote yes or no.”
>As the city continues to face important budget issues, residents of East Lansing would pay a 1% income tax if the proposal wins the vote. Non-East Lansing residents would 0.5% income tax. If you are an East Lansing resident that works in an area outside of East Lansing that has an income tax, you would pay 0.5 percent of the income tax to East Lansing and 0.5 percent to your working-location’s area. Same occurs if you are a non-East Lansing resident but work in East Lansing.
The first step in the voting process for this election is becoming a registered voter. To be able to vote in this upcoming election, a voter registration form needs to be completed by the deadline of midnight, Oct. 10.
“What we do is have a box at the police desk within city hall that is open 24/7.” Wicks said. If you want to turn the registration form in after business hours, you can do so because of that.”
There are multiple ways to complete the voter registration form.
If you have an East Lansing residency, there are two ways you can quickly access and fill out the form. The city clerk’s office is the place to go if you want to complete the form and turn it in all in one appearance. The form is also available for print on the city’s website, where you can fill it out and turn it into the city clerk’s office for 70 cents. The city clerk’s office is located within city hall on 410 Abbot Road.
The process for changing voting locations from another address to East Lansing has just a few extra steps. “They can actually go online and change their address,” said Wicks, “Or they can stop at City Hall and fill out basically a voter registration form.”
An ID is required. Wicks said that “We can actually accept an out-of-state driver’s license to register, as long as it’s current and not expired.”
What do you do if you do not have a driver’s license? Michigan State students can use their student IDs to register. A high school ID can be used as well, as long as you are 18 on election day. “As long as your likeness still looks very much like your picture, that’s fine.” says Wicks.
Whatever picture ID you choose to use for registration can also be used to enter in your ballot on election day. “The most important thing to remember about the ID requirement is that we are matching your name and the picture.” explained Wicks.
You also have to provide your residential address while registering to vote. Your residential address should be shown on your state-issued ID card or driver’s license, if you have one. If you do not have a residential address, the registration form asks you to provide cross streets or a landmark describing your location.
Once the form is completed and turned in to the clerk’s office, the information from the form is transferred to the secretary of state through a shared database. “The secretary of state will send you a new sticker with your address from East Lansing to apply to the back of your driver’s license,” Wicks explained. Finally, the city clerk’s office will send you a voter ID card that will tell you where you vote. You have vote in person in your first election with your new voter ID.
Wicks hopes to gain 6,000 registered voters for the Nov. 7 election. “It is very important everybody’s voice be heard through their ballot,” says Wicks. “The city council makes decisions that really affects college students especially on a day to day basis, things like noise ordinances, litter ordinances or things people unfortunately can get ticketed for.” “The earlier you start voting, the more you’ll continue to vote.”