MSUvote, a non-partisan committee made up of Michigan State students, faculty and community members, hosted an event on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at Erickson Hall on MSU’s campus encouraging students to register to vote and sign up for absentee ballots.
“Our primary purpose is to get people registered to vote and to make sure they get educated on all the candidates and all the issues,” said Suchitra Webster, co-chair of MSUvote and Michigan State University community liaison. “Our primary purpose is to get people registered to vote and to make sure they get educated on all the candidates and all the issues,” said Suchitra Webster, co-chair of MSUvote and Michigan State University community liaison.
The event, called the Absentea Party, took place at Erickson Hall. Representatives from Ingham County provided forms and assisted students in registering to vote and signing up to receive absentee ballots.
According to Chief Deputy Clerk Scott Hendrickson, registering to vote in East Lansing means you can vote at certain polling locations in East Lansing based on what precinct you live in. Signing up for an absentee ballot means you will get your ballot sent to you in the mail.
“Your absentee ballot has to arrive at your local clerk’s office before 8 p.m. on Election Day, or else you can’t be counted,” Hendrickson said. “If that means you have to mail it a week early so it can get to the postal service, that’s what we encourage you to do.”
Alexis Kilgren and Bridget Ertl, students at MSU, signed up for absentee ballots at the party. “I kind of grew up always with the assumption that when you turn 18, you start to vote,” Kilgren said.
Ertl, a political theory major, said, “I really like voting and I think everyone should do it. I think our generation will be the ones to change things, change the norm.”
Multiple organizations were at the Absentea Party, including JMC Kennedy Democrats, a club founded by Jasper Martus, a student in the James Madison College at MSU.
“This is our first active year,” Martus said. “So many young people today want to go into politics, maybe want to run for office someday. Kennedy Democrats is about developing the skills and tools necessary to do that.”
“It really is a concerted effort to make sure no matter who you support in the primary right now, no matter where you are on the political spectrum, that we are going to come together to bring about much needed change,” Martus said.
According to Webster, often people register but don’t end up voting. MSUvote is encouraging people, especially students, to follow through and actually vote. “A democracy can only thrive when lots of people are engaged, they’re participating, they’re having discourse, they’re making their voices heard,” Webster said.