DETROIT – In an effort to inform young voters about their rights, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the NAACP have created an “how to” flier about voting while away at school.
The leaflet, “Election 2004 Student Voting Made Easy,” is available on the ACLU of Michigan website, www.aclumich.org.
The leaflet explains the ease in which student voters can cast their ballot and exercise their fundamental right to vote. The useful tips cover questions such has how to register to vote, changing an address on line, how to get an absentee ballot for both Michigan and out-of-state students, and when a voter is or is not eligible to vote absentee.
“Students in Michigan have the choice of voting either in their college town or in their home town,” said Mary Bejian, ACLU of Michigan Field Organizer. “What’s most important is that they exercise their fundamental right to vote.”
The ACLU and the NAACP developed the leaflet in response to student confusion caused by a voter registration law enacted shortly before the 2000 election. The new law requires Michigan residents to vote in the district which appears on their driver’s licenses. Before the law changed, students could register to vote on campus without changing the address on their driver’s license to their campus address.
Updating the addresses to accommodate the school year can be done online with the Secretary of State and is free of charge. Out-of-state students may vote in Michigan and maintain their out-of-state address. The deadline for registering to vote and changing a voting place is October 4.
Brian Quint, a Michigan State University sophomore and vice-president of the ACLU chapter said, "Students have historically been an under-represented group. In order to have a representative government that more truly reflects the interests of the people as a whole, it is important that we vote in order to protect those issues of special interest to us."