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Still time to register to Vote

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Every four years, political ads blare from our televisions and radios as the presidential candidates ramp up to the election. Young people are barraged with messages of the importance of registering to vote and are reminded that ‘every vote counts.’

These clichés are often ignored or shrugged off. In 2008, more than 140,000 eligible voters in Michigan failed to register.

“I don’t think registration is as available as it should be,” said Dannea Mayhue, a third year Grand Rapids Community College student. “Registration should be automatic with college enrollment or when you turn 18,” she added.

There are many reasons that people don’t register, but a common excuse is that students are too busy to register and just don’t have enough time. But many people don’t know how quick and easy registering to vote really is. It only takes about five minutes to complete the registration form, which can be found on the GRCC Student Life website at grcc.edu/studentlife or in the Student Life office in the Student Center. These forms can be mailed to the city clerk’s office or dropped off in person. Another option for registration is to go to the nearest Secretary of State and fill out the form there.

Some people say they don’t know enough to make an educated choice.

“If you know something, you know enough to vote.” said Keith St. Clair, a professor of political science at GRCC. “Never let the lack of total information prevent you from exercising your choice. If you do that, you’ll never weigh in on anything. You never have all the information.”

“Being registered gives you an advantage to exercise your rights,” Mayhue said. “I think students don’t register because they don’t feel important.”

“You are one vote,” St. Clair said. “It’s easy to think, ‘Well, that one vote’s not going to make that much of a difference,’ but one is about the only thing that’s ever changed anything in this world. It takes one. And one adds up.”

According to St. Clair, voting is a civic obligation and a responsibility.

“Not to vote does not absolve you of that responsibility,” said St. Clair. “If you don’t register, you’re not in the game,” St. Clair said. “So, I would say, get in the game.” The last day to register to exercise this right is Oct. 9 and voting takes place Nov 6.

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