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Low student voter turnout is a concern

A Northern View

April 8, 2012
ADELLE?WHITEFOOT - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

In my last column I wrote about the Associated Students of Northern Michigan University's elections. Well, the results are in and only 917 students voted out of about 8,576 who are enrolled at the school this semester.

This is the lowest percentage of students voting in a referendum year since 2006 when 1,651 students out of 9,124 voted. A referendum year happens every two years. It's a chance for student organizations to ask for an increase or decrease in money they receive from the NMU Student Activity Fee. These are the years that usually bring a high percentage of voter participation.

The last referendum year, 2010, had the most votes recorded since 2002 - with 2,308 votes cast out of the 9,123 students attending school that yeat.

The percentage of students voting over the years has been really low. Perhaps it shows that people my age don't really care about voting in general.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the 2010 election 43.9 percent of people ages 18 to 24 were registered to vote and only 19.8 percent voted. These numbers concern me.

I know that it's been said many times that the older someone is the more likely he or she is to vote, but what if my generation continues to feel this way about voting as it ages?

The 2010 election was the first time I was eligible to vote - and I did. I was registered to vote downstate at the time, so I filled out an absentee ballot. Even though I still don't care much for politics, even when I was in high school I couldn't wait to be old enough to vote. I wanted my voice to count.

My fear is that not everyone in my generation will feel this way about voting - ever.

I can always hope that my fellow students just don't care about student government and it doesn't reflect how they feel about voting in general; but I can't shake the feeling that this may be a prediction for the upcoming Presidential election.

Editor's note: Northern Michigan University student and Mining Journal Staff Writer Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500. Her email address is



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