Michigan will have an earlier presidential primary next year. But while Democrats will gain more influence by voting Feb. 27, the move has side effects for two major groups: Students and Republicans.
“The primary being on Feb. 27 will absolutely disenfranchise student voters,” said Landon Myers, who runs Michigan efforts for the nonpartisan Campus Vote Project. “The only question is really by how much.”
Myers looked at next year’s academic calendars for all 15 Michigan public universities and found that seven of them – totaling 155,000 students – will be on spring break over Feb. 27. That’s nearly six in 10 students off campus during Election Day.
At Michigan State and U-of-M’s three campuses, for example, students will be gone starting Saturday, Feb. 24. Oakland University, Eastern Michigan University and Michigan Technological University will also be on break.
“If we want to continue supporting young voters to continue voting,” Myers said, “we have to make sure that we’re making the process convenient and accessible for them. And having a presidential primary over spring break is not doing that.”