Event to promote politics

With hopes to increase student voter turnout, Pi Sigma Alpha, Phi Alpha Theta, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Student Government Association have teamed up to present the UHave a Voice Election Seminar and voter registration drive.

UHave a Voice – coordinated by Phi Alpha Theta President and SGA Senate Speaker Pro-Tem Kelly Evans, Pi Sigma Alpha President Michael Li and SGA At-Large Sen. and SSDP President Michael Blunk – will feature key Harris County candidates, UH professors and give non-registered students the chance to register for the Nov. 4 election.

"Voting is†the most direct way for a citizen to influence the direction of this country," Evans said. "But to do†that effectively one must be educated about the issues and where the candidates stand on them."

Texas State Senate candidate Democrat Chris Bell will educate voters on his platform, and U.S. House of Representatives candidate Republican Pete Olson will take part in a question and answer session at the event. The seminar will also feature a debate between district attorney candidates Republican Pat Lycos and Democrat C.O. Bradford, which will branch into an audience-administered debate to acquaint students with candidates running for office in Houston.

UHave a Voice will also include speeches by Democratic State Rep. Rick Noriega, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, who will give a speech regarding the power of individuals in politics, as well as Councilman and Harris County sheriff nominee Adrian Garcia, D, who will speak about the importance of voting and participating in elections.

History professor Robert Buzzanco, history professor Nancy Young and political science professor Jeronimo Cortina will speak in a discussion about the historical importance of this year’s election.

In addition to hearing the candidates and professors, voter registration tables will be set up and three laptops showing an electronic ballot tutorial will be placed inside the seminar room.

"Every student should not only vote,†but also†understand how to vote," Evans said.

The event will be from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday in the University Center, Houston Room.

"I encourage all students to attend, because even if they don’t vote, the decisions our elected officials make affect them," Evans said.

Pi Sigma Alpha will sponsor a voter registration drive later in the week to continue educating people about voting.

"It is important that people understand that registering to vote merely allows you to have a voice. In order to have your voice heard, however, you must get out on Election Day and vote," Li said. "We will encourage our members to ask their professors for the opportunity to remind fellow students about the election as it approaches. A consistent reminder will hopefully lead to a higher voter turnout."

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