On top of an already busy time in the semester, students were able to add “go vote” to their to-do lists this fall. For many, this meant having to make the journey home to exercise their civic duty.
Due to Texas’ voter registration laws, voters must reside in the county they are registered to vote in. To have a say in both local and general elections, many college students make the decision to remain registered in their hometowns rather than where they attend college.
For public health sophomore Molly Prigmore, registering in Brazos County never crossed her mind.
“I guess I’ve never really thought about registering here,” Prigmore said. “I’ve always just been comfortable with making the drive home to vote because I get to see my family and stuff while still doing something with a purpose.”
Prigmore said her entire voting process was easy, including her drive home.
“I don’t know what it was but the entire thing was so easy,” Prigmore said. “Driving to Dallas, I normally hit a ton of traffic somewhere along the way and there’s always a line to wait in, but when I went to the polling location with my parents it was very easy. We walked in without a line, voted and left.”
With her family’s lives and small business to keep in mind, sociology junior Mel Ramos said she is not registered to vote in Bryan-College Station because she would rather have a say in the local elections in her hometown.
“I have lived in my same house for the majority of my life,” Ramos said. “My family has a small business back home, and the outcome of the local elections could impact [it]. It was important to me that I went home so that I could have a say in the local elections as well as the larger and federal elections.”
Although voting anxiety can be very real, Ramos said the experience of voting in the place she grew up was pleasant.
“The election clerks and the volunteers outside were friendly and there was no one from either political party outside the polling location to try and influence decisions or intimidate voters into choosing any particular candidate, so I felt very comfortable casting my vote,” Ramos said.
With plans to move back home after graduation, accounting junior Katelyn Miller said the issues and people back home in Georgetown are what led to her decision to not register in Brazos County.
“If I were to make College Station my permanent address and live here full-time after graduation, I would register to vote here,” Miller said. “[But because I plan on] moving back after graduation, I feel my input on decisions now could affect things that occur when I move back.”
Miller said the importance of the issues on the ballot were what pushed her to make the nearly two-hour drive home.
“I would've gone home to vote either way but every vote counts,” Miller said. “I wanted to make my voice heard. Positions at the local, state and national level are at stake in 2020 and I really deemed it necessary to take a stand.”
Determined to have her voice heard, Ramos said there was no way she wouldn’t be making the drive home to vote in this election.
“As a cisgender, middle class, naturalized U.S. citizen, election results honestly do not affect me directly,” Ramos said. “I voted for the rights of my friends, my family and my fellow citizens who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, undocumented or on DACA. It was important that I voted for decency and science and for my fellow women so that that glass ceiling can come crashing down within my lifetime.”