Voting in the MSC

Biomedical engineering seniors Bradley Schott and Matthew Reyes pull their laptops out to work on an assignment while waiting in line to cast their ballots for the midterm elections in the MSC on Nov. 7, 2018.

On Tuesday, citizens will weigh in on 10 proposed Texas constitutional amendments, and those in Bryan and College Station will cast their votes in several local races.

Voting will be available at the MSC from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Among the proposed amendments are those dealing with procedures for retiring law enforcement animals, property tax exemptions for those who sustained property damage in governor-declared disaster areas, and an increase in the amount of revenue that entities can provide the Available School Fund each year.

Aggies Vote is a non-partisan voter registration and education organization on campus.

The group has been reminding students in the MSC to vote and educating them on what they’re voting for, said Aggies Vote president Georgia Neal. Each amendment will affect students differently, Neal said. For example, students who are interested in medical research could be impacted by an increase in funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, which is proposed in the sixth amendment.

“I think students should know that these amendments will affect their daily lives because these elections are completely local,” Neal said. “All the things that they’re voting for this time around will directly affect their lives.”

With this in mind, Neal said students should read up on what they’ll be voting for and remember that they have a real chance to make their voices heard.

“It’s always important to vote and to have a voice in our democracy, and this is the best way to have your voice heard is in these smaller elections because your vote generally weighs more than [when there are] 50 million people voting,” Neal said.

Computer science senior Tate Banks is the academic affairs chair in Texas A&M’s Student Senate. He said he is mainly concerned with topics like online classes, faculty accountability and open access to educational resources. There’s an increased interest within A&M’s Student Government in pushing for student political awareness, he said.

“Voter turnout is very high in the presidential elections compared to other elections, and I feel like it’s definitely a need that we have to increase awareness about [non-presidential] elections,” Banks said. “I feel like if more students knew about issues being voting on, there’d be a lot more interest in the student body in voting.”

Technology management sophomore Alyssa Garcia, who has been reading more news for a political science course, said staying politically aware is often hard since college students have so much going on. But Garcia said she plans to research the proposed amendments on the ballot for this election, and she hopes everyone can become more politically aware.

“Change is usually pretty good even though it's fairly hard to accomplish, especially in politics just because everything’s so diverse,” Garcia said. “If it’s to help people in current situations, I would support it.”

Students can read more about the election by visiting https://www.texastribune.org/2019/10/15/texas-2019-constitutional-amendments-what-voters-need-know/.

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