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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Pizza, Kahoot and Zeke the Wonderdog: How MSUvote helps students register to vote this election season

Kara+Mackenzie+and+Aiden+Bourgeau+encourage+students+to+vote.+Photo+Credit%3A+Tessa+Kresch%2FWDBM
Kara Mackenzie and Aiden Bourgeau encourage students to vote. Photo Credit: Tessa Kresch/WDBM

On Feb. 6, MSUvote hosted the first of nine daily voter registration opportunities: the Michigan Primary Voter Registration Rally. The event, which took place from 6-8 p.m. in the STEM building, featured a mix of fun activities and informational tables.

 

MSUvote is a “non-partisan campus committee whose mission it is to increase the number of registered student voters, to inform and educate students on candidates and issues, and to bolster student participation on Election Day.” 

 

MSUvote and its affiliates engaged students with refreshments such as pizza and desserts, as well as coloring sheets, bingo and an educational game of Kahoot. Even Zeke the Wonderdog made an appearance, sporting his own custom stickers and cookies which encouraged students to vote.

 

Alongside the Michigan State celebrity were tables set up representing the East Lansing City Clerk and the Meridian Township City Clerk, both of which offered informational pamphlets and voter registration forms. 

 

The presence of city clerk representatives allowed students to fill out a short form which would be automatically processed for the student, taking the burden of voter registration off of their shoulders. 

 

Amy Gordon, the chief deputy City Clerk for East Lansing said, “Our goal for this event is to get students registered early, before the 14-day deadline where they have to show proof of residency but also before election day so we don’t have long lines and students have the opportunity to utilize the early voting center.” 

 

She said the early voting center will take place at the STEM building from Feb. 17 to Feb. 25.

 

Amy Gordon theorized that students may not register to vote because of a lack of knowledge on the subject.

 

“I think that students maybe want to request a ballot from home and then they wait too long,” Amy Gordon said. “I think that informing students that they can register at their student address because they’ve lived here for 30 days is important to remind them. [They can] get it done before they go on spring break this year, and they also have the opportunity to move their voter registration to their fall address when they vote in the November election.” 

 

“The best resource we can use is [the] Michigan voter information center. They can see where their current clerk’s office is and it’ll show where they’re currently registered, they can see their voter registration status, they can request a ballot online, they can see the hours of offices, where dropbox locations are.” 

 

Seated beside the East Lansing city clerk was Emily Gordon, the deputy clerk for Meridian Township. She explained that it’s important to represent the charter township because of its connection to off-campus students.

 

“In the past, Meridian Township wasn’t represented as much, but we do have a lot of students that live off-campus and because they go to Michigan State they think that they’re East Lansing residents–but they’re actually Meridian Township [residents],” said Emily Gordon. “Unfortunately, in the past, that’s resulted in some voters not being able to vote on election day. After proposal 18-3 came into play, ‘same-day voter registration,’ that ended up with a lot of students waiting in line and by the time they came up to vote they realized that [they] were actually Meridian Township residents and it was too late to vote.”

 

Emily Gordon further connected the township to MSU students. “When I was a student, I didn’t know that I potentially lived off of campus [in Meridian Township], and I wouldn’t have known the difference. Educating students and making sure that they have the opportunity to vote, and knowing where they live, is why we’re here,” said Emily Gordon. 

 

Not only has MSUvote connected students on campus to useful information to educate themselves, but they have also directly expedited the sometimes complicated registration process.

 

Further, MSUvote volunteers handed out useful guides for those seeking absentee ballots and provided an important service for confused students: dialogue. 

 

One of the most important reasons for having in-person voter engagement events on campuses is that they encourage open dialogue. Sifting through online resources can be taxing, whereas talking with a peer forces the information to be communicated accessibly.

 

Among MSUvote staff was Aiden Bourgeau, an initiative programming intern. 

 

Bourgeau said, “What motivates me is spreading the word about voting and getting people engaged, and really building upon MSUvote’s goal and overall purpose which is [to] civically engage students on MSU’s campus. We are purely here to help students get out there and vote, and make sure their voices are counting.” 

 

Bourgeau is interested in empowering MSU students by teaching them about their rights as voters. 

 

“I think this election and all of the upcoming elections are extremely important ways to make sure you’re represented and feel represented in our democracy. I think that’s something that should never be overlooked,” said Bourgeau. “Exercising your fundamental right to vote here in the United States is a very important part to starting your journey as being a civically engaged person, and I think it’s a great way to make sure the government that you’re living under is one that represents you.”

 

Kara Mackenzie, a program assistant and MSUvote staff member, supported this sentiment.

 

“It’s really easy to feel hopeless about this particular election, but young people have such a huge voice if we use it. It’s easy, especially for young people who have grown up in this environment, to say: ‘well, things have always been crazy, I’m not gonna fix it in one election;’ but our vote really does matter,” said Mackenzie.

 

Many MSU students aren’t from East Lansing, so registering to vote while living in a new city can be headache-inducing. 

 

MSUvote events like the registration rally connect students with both physical and online resources, such as the MSUvote website which teaches all kinds of students—such as out-of-state or absentee voters—how to participate in upcoming elections.

 

For example, Antonice B, a third-year student at MSU, attended Tuesday’s event to educate herself and her community. 

 

“I’m actually an RA for one of the dorms on campus, so I wanted to see if they [MSUvote] would like to partner and do a tabling event so I can bring the information to my residents specifically,” B said. “For me, it [voting] is not typically at the top of my mind, being a busy college student, but it is super important that our voices are heard. Something like this being not an intimidating setting is really helpful, it feels like a safer spot to get that information if they’re not educated enough.”

 

As primary elections in Michigan approach on Feb. 27, it’s important to learn where you can vote, how you can vote, and if you can vote. Thankfully, organizations like MSUvote make it easier to answer all of these questions and participate in American democracy. 

 

Quoting his promotional stickers, “Zeke [the Wonderdog] hopes to catch you voting” this February!



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About the Contributors
Maco Jeleniewski
Maco Jeleniewski, News Editorial Assistant
Maco (he/she) is a freshman pursuing dual degrees in Journalism and Vocal Performance. She was told by her mom to apply for a job on campus, and it just so happened that Impact 89FM was hiring! Before college, he was the Secretary General of his high school Model UN Team, which led him to start doing journalism full-time. When not writing, Maco sings opera, reads horror novels, does drag art, and releases a mix of covers and original music. You can find her music on all streaming platforms under the name coopiric! Maco also is a huge fan of Will Wood, The Cog is Dead, and Tenacious D. One day, he hopes to get over his fear of bushes. “Ah-rah, dee / Soo-guh-goo-gee-goo-gee, Goo-guh fli-goo gee goo / Guh fli-goo, gah-goo-buh-dee / Ooh, guh-goo-bee, Ooh guh-guh-bee guh-guh-bee / Fli-goo gee goo, A-fli-guh woo-ma mama Lucifer” -Tribute, Tenacious D
Tessa Kresch
Tessa Kresch, Senior News Producer/Co-Host of Exposure
Tessa (she/her) is a senior pursuing a double major in Acting and Broadcast Journalism. She is the senior news producer & host of Exposure for Impact 89FM & has worked as a production assistant for the radio show, Stateside on Michigan Radio. When she's not at the station interviewing someone or mixing up some audio, you'll probably find her memorizing a script, performing on a stage somewhere, making some music, crocheting up a storm or watching hours worth of cat content.

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