How to register to vote for the upcoming Midterm election

Dean Vaglia, Staff Intern

Whether or not you like what politics has come to in 2018, the time to do anything about it is coming up…If you are registered, that is.

The cutoff day for voter registration is Tuesday, Oct. 9, and without it you cannot cast a ballot in Michigan. Your views on federal Congress, state governorships, local mileages or the various proposals— including legalizing marijuana—will not matter. You will be turned away from the polling station and sent to suffer the consequences of how other people want you to live your life.

The first thing to do is to figure out if you are registered. The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) website allows for residents to verify their voter registration by entering their name, birth date and zip code to figure out if they are registered. If the details entered do not match what is in the system, then you need to register.

When registering to vote, Rochester Hills City Clerk Tina Barton said there are several things to be aware of when registering. First, Oakland University students living on campus should be aware that the address they use will affect which ballot they receive.

“If students register with their campus address, that becomes their address for voting,” Barton said. “Say you’re a University of Michigan student, you’ve gone to Ann Arbor and you fill out the registration, and you put your address down as your campus address. That means that when you get your ballot you’re gonna get it from the Ann Arbor city clerk and not your home community’s clerk.”

While this might not be a problem to some, it does mean that students will not be voting on issues that will impact their home directly. Barton also stressed that students should be aware if they are able to vote by mail.

“What students don’t understand is that they will have to vote in person the first time if they have not been ID’d,” Barton said. “If you send your registration in by mail but I’ve never seen your identification, and I can’t confirm that you are who you say you are, then you have to vote in person the first time.”

This is important to know since registering through Oakland University Student Congress (OUSC), a website like Snapchat’s TurboVote or through an voter registration drive is considered a mail-in registration. Barton did mention that if someone registered by mail, they can still get identified by going to a local SOS office and asking.

In fact, the SOS Mobile Branch Office will be at OU between North and South Foundation Halls on Tuesday, Oct. 9, giving students a last-minute chance to get registered or identified. The mobile office will be on campus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Voter registration is not a perfect process, and the people who fill out the forms and enter them into the system are humans. Names can be misspelled, addresses incorrectly filled in and citizenship boxes left blank. Barton recognizes this and said that so long as registration has been received before Oct. 9, she will allow for any corrections to be done before the Tuesday, Nov. 6 Election Day.

Efforts to register students on campus have been effective. According to OUSC Legislative Affairs Director Ghazi Ghazi, there have been over 700 students registered at OU. OUSC has registered over 200 students and has registration booths set up in the Oakland Center on Tuesdays and Vandenberg Hall on Thursday. The booths are set up from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“The registration booths have been very effective,” Ghazi said. “We chose the same times and dates every week that way students can always find us at that specific time. We also chose a high volume time to catch students on their in and out of lunch or passing through to class.”