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Michigan students registered in record numbers on Election Day

Michigan State University students line up to register and vote at the East Lansing City Clerk's Satellite Office inside Brody Hall on campus.
Michelle Jokisch Polo
/
WKAR-MSU
Hundreds of Michigan State University students waited in line on campus for hours to vote in the 2022 midterm elections.

Data shows two of Michigan’s public universities had a record number of students registering to vote on the day of this year’s election compared to previous years.

Students at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan waited in line for hours after polls closed on Election Day to cast their votes.

About 2,960 students cast their ballots in-person on MSU's campus, according to a press release.

1,434 East Lansing residents registered to vote Tuesday before casting their ballots, according the city clerk's office. That’s a record for the city since Michiganders approved same-day registration rules in 2018.

The city had set up a rotating satellite office on MSU's campus four weeks before the election. The office changed locations every week to be accessible to students, with the office concluding its run at Brody Hall. Students could also vote at the main clerk's office in City Hall.

East Lansing City Clerk Jennifer Schuster says she was encouraged to see high student registration and turnout. She adds her office wants to improve outreach and get more students to vote before Election Day.

“We really want to focus on that going forward, so ... we're not seeing these hundreds of students in line on election day waiting hours to get registered and voting," Schuster said. "We want to get them taken care of earlier than that, so they're not waiting in line.”

She says same-day registration was record-high this cycle because this is the first election with that option where all students were present on campus. Fewer students were in East Lansing to vote in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Ann Arbor, nearly 1,500 students registered on Tuesday before voting. While the total student voter registration was higher in 2020, a higher percentage of students registered to vote the day of the election this year than two years ago.

Ann Arbor City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry says her office offered 40 days of early absentee voting to U of M students before the election. Her office set up satellite offices at the school's art museum and on its northern campus.

Despite this extra time to vote, Beaudry says the campus satellite offices were more active just before Election Day.

“We really didn't see an interest in registering to vote until just a few days before Election Day.”

Beaudry says she hopes students will register and vote earlier now that Michiganders approved Proposition 2. The measure will allow for nine days of early in-person voting.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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