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Michigan’s vote by mail process could pose particular challenges to college students - Goldenberg

September 1, 2020

An article in Mlive states that students and first-time voters who already struggled to cast a ballot on time before the pandemic will face more problems voting in November. 

The article notes that more Michigan citizens used absentee ballots this year than in past elections by a wide margin. Experts predict turnout will be much higher in Michigan’s November election. Turnout in the August primary smashed records -- 2.5 million Michigan voters participated and two-thirds of them used an absentee ballot.

Ford School professor Edie Goldenberg comments in the article that young voters are transient, often changing addresses each year and during the summer, so they must update their voter registration multiple times throughout their college career.

The article notes that voters in college towns flooded clerks' offices on the day of Michigan’s March primary for same-day voter registration, as they will be able to do in November. But the coronavirus could deter students from appearing in person.

“One of the things that became really clear in the primary in March is that despite all our efforts to encourage students to get active early, a couple thousand of them waited till the last minute and they were standing in long crowded lines outside city hall,” Goldenberg says.

Standing in line for hours on Election Day wasn’t a great option even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it may not even be an option at all if on-campus residence halls close before the election, Mlive says.

It could be a crucial issue: An analysis of voting trends by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University found youth voters could have a significant impact on Michigan elections.

You can read the article here.