In Ann Arbor, voter registration is a highly political issue. The Republicans who currently hold a majority on City Council have tried to make voter registration for students and young people as difficult as possible. They are fully aware that if these groups turned out in force at the polls, their power would be ended.
In the past, voter registration could be done in the regular U-M registration lines at Waterman Gym, or before elections, was conducted door-to-door. Now, however, it is necessary for those who wish to register to make the trek down to the City Clerk's office, second floor, City Hall (at the corner of Huron and Fifth Ave.), at I least at present- see article in local news section. And of course, the clerk's office is only open during regular business hours on weekdays.
The requirements to register are fairly simple. You must be eighteen (if you'll be eighteen by the time of the November elections, you can probably register now anyway). You must be a citizen of the U.S. And finally, you must be living in Ann Arbor on the day you register (or 30 days before the next general election, which is the one in November). If you have just moved to Ann Arbor this fall, you can still register to vote in Ann Arbor immediately. If you are already registered elsewhere, your registration will automatically be changed once you sign up here.
It's important that you register to vote in Ann Arbor, even if you spend your summers at home or touring the country. The laws of this city affect you, whether you live in a dorm or in a rented apartment. The reason this town has a $5 fine for use and possession of marijuana is because people like you went to the polls and voted it in. The Human Rights ordinance, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of student status also carne about because young people went to the polls in large numbers and voted in a forward looking City Council.
You can make these changes a reality again. Sure, we know that ultimately the kind of changes this society needs won't come about only through the electoral system. But at the moment, it is one of the few channels we can use to gain real power and institute some initial, effective blows against the system. A look at some of the legislation pointed out here should convince you that it is worth the trek down to City Hall. The power is there, and all of us together can seize it.