FORUM: Voting matters

Constituents should have increased access to voting opportunities

Joshua Delano

Texas’ requirements to vote are pretty similar to other states’. Despite that, many people will say they are the way they are so people will have to jump through a few hoops to vote. I like how Oregon allows voters to vote by mail and Minnesota and other states allow Election Day registration. The latter is the best and most just way to do it.

If Texas would allow Election Day registration, we would have more voter participation. Expanding mail-voting is not the only option. One potential negative of Election Day registration is the whole nation would be waiting for us to get our vote count in, as was the case during the Democratic primaries, when it took nearly a month to get the final tally of primary and caucus votes.

I still believe the possible conspiracy theory that some elections can and will be fixed, especially when your brother is the governor of Florida†and your buddies are on the Supreme Court.

At the end of the day I believe in the old adage, "vote early and vote often." Back home in Louisiana, we even let dead people and dogs vote, so why not allow everyone who is living to register and vote here in Texas on the day of the election who wants to do so?

Apathy is why things haven’t changed, because voting and many other issues need to be fixed in this country. So many people don’t care about the process – that’s why politicians can and do get away with so much. So, get out and vote. our provisional ballot will get counted.

Delano, a political science and history senior, can be reached via [email protected]

More must be done to increase number of registered young voters

Shai Mohammed

Given the hunger for adult responsibilities after graduation, it’s the perfect time to scoop up newly emancipated adults and bring them into the fold of educated citizens participating in the running of government. Well, not around these parts.

Texas, the youth vote, defined as voters below age 30, nearly tripled in the 2008 Democratic Primary, jumping 17 percent from 6 percent according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. In the 2008 Republican Primary, the rate of participation increased to 13 percent from 9 percent, demonstrating a rising interest in election participation among younger Texans.

College campuses now have a major push for voter registration and activism, but the easiest reform to garner legions of young voters was ignored – voter registration when applying for driver’s licenses. There are legions of volunteers pushing voter registration on campus, but is this the most efficient way of getting young folks to vote?

Ideals shared by both parties hold that an honest election with high voter turnout among educated voters is good for the country as a whole, no matter who wins. Given the lack of clarity in the previous election and the subsequent crises of Katrina, the prolonged war in Afghanistan and disastrous fiscal policies. What remains to be seen is whether the outrage of young Texas voters finally replaces their apathy.

Mohammed, an anthropology freshman, can be reached via [email protected]

Earlier exposure to politics will lead to more political knowledge

Alana MousaviDin

It doesn’t take much to vote in Texas. If you are a citizen of the U.S., live in the state for a while, keep your nose clean and keep your mental faculties sharp. Some may think this a bit extreme, but each requirement is necessary. Rules regarding citizenship make sense – in fact they all do. The questionable part is proper voting age.

Whether Texas should reconsider the voting age has been a question heard throughout the years. Is an 18-year-old old enough to truly understand their responsibility as a registered voter? If so, is it possible a 16-year-old could understand? Sixteen is relatively young, but if it is old enough to hold a job, receive a paycheck and pay federal taxes, maybe they should be allowed a say in electing our country’s leaders. On the other hand, the idea of some of the 16-year-olds I know voting is absolutely scary.

There has also been discussion of raising the voting age to 21. Going back to responsibility and holding a job, a 21-year-old has most likely attended college and gained a little knowledge. Being 21 and responsible is rare, but at least it would allow a better chance for making a responsible, informed decision.

Overall, we have a good thing going when it comes to the requirements for registering. Texas should consider lowering the voting age to 16 to help our youth become better-acquainted with politics of the laws by which they must abide, and maybe spark great changes to better our state and country. Hey, a gal can always hope, right?

MousaviDin, a communication junior, can be reached via [email protected]

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