Mobile branch visits campus
October 2, 2006 —
To combat consistent low voter turnout from the college student demographic, the Michigan Secretary of State parked a mobile branch office in the center of campus Monday. The aim was to make it convenient for students to register to vote and perform other functions that are normally only available at a permanent office.
According to Office Supervisor David Dodds, the Secretary of State mobile office visits a number of schools besides SVSU. The office is scheduled to visit 13 universities in Michigan with the hopes of registering 115 to 130 students at each stop.
The actual process of registering people to vote - which, according to Dodds, is the primary service of the mobile office - is simple. One must provide a valid picture ID and sign a few forms. The whole process takes about five minutes.
A number of students took advantage of the mobile service, generally citing short and practical reasons for registering.
"It was pretty easy," said freshman David Henderson, while sophomore Ashley Wiseman said, "It saved me a trip downtown."
While the mobile branch is a convenience to students, it is also a signifier of how much the Secretary of State and the state government value the student vote.
Several students commented on how they felt about their right, including freshman Cheryl Mapes, who said, "I think people don't appreciate it enough. There are not enough people that do vote, or even care enough to get up and register to vote."
Political science adjunct Adam Bruski also weighed in, mentioning that the student vote may mean even more in a gubernatorial election.
"What happens at state government," Bruski said, "is in a lot of ways more important than what happens at federal government."
Bruski also suggested that, while all political elections are more or less a "numbers game," state elections deal with far fewer voters than do national elections, so the individual vote matters more.
And while the campaign advertisements of both the DeVos and Granholm campaigns have not specifically targeted the student vote yet, things may change as the election season winds down.
"Sometimes, I think that candidates think the attention span of a college student is relatively short, so they do a last minute blitz with t-shirts and free swag," Bruski joked. "Hopefully, they will focus on it.”