ANN ARBOR - Just before 10 a.m. on Tuesday, there was a steady trickle of University of Michigan students entering and leaving their polling place, Rackham Auditorium on central campus.
Several students we spoke to have already voted in the past, but some were first-time voters.
Meredith Days, a sophomore, and Emily Welch, a freshman, were staffing the Party at the Polls event across from Rackham. Organized in partnership with the Edward Ginsberg Center, student volunteers are handing out free food to voters and encouraging people to vote all day.
"I've been here since 6 a.m. and I’ll be here for about five hours," said Days.
"I'm not actually from around here, but when you move to Michigan, if you’ve lived here for 30 days you can register to vote," she said. "I spend a lot of time here and I've lived here for two years now so I know a lot more about the community than I did before and I feel like I know enough to make decisions about the area.
"I also feel like the elections are really important and I feel like my vote matters a lot here. A lot of the propositions this year and a lot of the candidates who are up for election could do really good or really bad things and I'm very excited about some of that. It's also been great to register people to vote and then come and vote myself in person. It’s very exciting."
Welch voted absentee in her first election.
"I voted absentee for my first time because I’m from Livonia, Michigan, which is about 40 minutes away," said Welch. "In order to register earlier in the summer, I registered in person so I could vote absentee and I sent in my absentee ballot on Oct. 17 so I (submitted) it a while ago! I think it really just means proving that I’m represented in our country. I think that it’s hard to have problems with what’s going on in the country without actually participating, actually trying to make that difference."
Sophomore Adam Rich, originally from California, registered to vote in Michigan. When asked what voting for the first time means to him, he said: "I'm excited. I live in California but I registered to vote here figuring it means more. You have more of an impact and pushing forward the causes you want.
"And I figure, if I’m living here for the next few years, what happens here is probably a little bit more important than what happens back home. If I move back, I'll probably be able to re-register there, but just being able to make an impact is pretty cool."
Parties at the Polls will be set up all day outside Rackham Auditorium on Ingalls Mall and at the Duderstadt Center on North Campus.
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