Secretary of state stresses importance of student vote
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07
With the presidential election approaching in November, students who want to participate in the electoral process — many for the first time — need to register to vote. The presidential primaries will take place in Texas on May 29, and the state is working to make voting more accessible to students.
Hope Andrade, Texas Secretary of State, said that state employees designed a new website, votetexas.gov, to try and illuminate the voting process for everyone.
“The goal of the website is to educate on the election process,” Andrade said. “We want everyone to know it and understand it. We believe if you have all that info, you will go out and vote.”
Andrade said that the website has answers to just about any question a voter may have, including about how to register, where to register and how to vote absentee. If the website does not answer your question, it directs you who to call.
“We’re trying to make it easy as possible for everyone,” Andrade said.
Students registered to vote in their home counties can utilize absentee ballots. According to the Office of the Secretary of State, of the 13,259,581 registered voters in the state of Texas, only 190,399 voted absentee in November 2010. If a student does not wish to vote absentee, he or she can register in Brazos County.
Andrade said that the May 29 election is about more than the presidential primary.
“There’s a lot going on in this election: presidential primary, also for U.S. senate, congressional,” Andrade said. “It’s a very important election.”
Stephanie Courtright, sophomore wildlife and fisheries major, said she has not voted in past elections because it is complicated.
“I don’t like how you have to register by county,” Courtright said. “I’m registered to vote at home, but I live here. It’s difficult to remember to request an absentee ballot or to change which county I’m registered in.”
Courtright said she is interested in voting in the election because it is important.
“I care about what happens to our nation, and I want to have my say in it,” Courtright said. “I just wish it were easier to vote.”
Andrade said that many people, like Courtright, don’t vote because they think that it’s pointless or too difficult.
“We want them to know that they’re vote does count and it is easy and accessible,” Andrade said. “And as a U.S. citizen it’s one of the most important privileges we have. Other countries are fighting for this right. Lets not take it for granted, let’s use it. Make sure you make your mark on Texas by voting.”
Kyle Jackson, former election commissioner for Student Government Association, said that he has looked at the website and thinks it’s useful, especially for students.
“We’re the generation of technology,” Jackson said. “I’ve been to the website, and I found it useful.”
Jackson said it’s important for students — and all citizens — to vote because it’s the way to instill changes.
“It’s your way to influence government. We sit and complain about things going on in Austin in D.C., but if we complain and don’t vote we aren’t doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” Jackson said. “It’s your civic duty to vote.”