The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Campus organizations encourage midterm voting

With all eyes on Texas for the Nov. 6 midterm elections, Aggies across campus have been doing their part to ensure their voices are heard.
Early voting for the general election begins Monday, Oct. 22. According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, in the 2016 election, the number of people who voted early, absentee or by mail had more than doubled from the 24.9 million in 2004 to 57.2 million, with the percentage of voters casting their ballots on Election Day steadily declining over the past decade.
Citizens should use early voting as a way to be proactive in ensuring that other members of their community are able to vote, said Nicholas Ciggelakis, political science junior and chairman of the Texas A&M chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas.
“Our group is very much about creating activism and allowing people to be able to go out and make change in their community,” Ciggelakis said. “One way to make that change is to be at the polls. Use early voting to do that, so that way you can spend your time on Election Day whether it be helping at the polls or calling your friends or taking people to the polls.”
One criticism of early voting is it might be sending voters to the polls uninformed. According to NPR, critics of early voting argue it “encourages people to go to the polls when their information about the candidate may not yet be complete.”
The Texas A&M Free Speech Forum is encouraging their members to be fully informed on all the candidates, no matter when they choose to vote, said agricultural systems management junior Don Davis.
“We’ve encouraged everyone to indeed register to vote, whether in Texas or in their home state,” Davis said. “We’ve also encouraged everyone to read up on all the candidates and not just on mainstream sources, but doing more research on other sources. We also watch the debates between candidates and go to any event where any candidate may be speaking.”
Since the upcoming Texas elections are watched all over the nation, tensions have been running high. Brazos County Elections Administrator Trudy Hancock said Texas A&M had one incident when constables were sent to campus to ensure students weren’t being harassed while they registered to vote.
“That is definitely not the norm,” Hancock said. “There have been some passionate people and passions are running quite high over on the campus.”
Through it all, student organizations have continued their efforts to make sure Aggies across campus have had the opportunity to register to vote.
“The elections office gives you a booklet of 25 registration forms,” Ciggelakis said. “On the last day of registration, three of our members were registering at least 200-300 people. I think each of us had three to four books assigned to us. At any given time, we had all of our books handed out so we were registering 10 people at a time easily.”
According to Hancock, these cross-campus efforts have been felt at the Brazos County elections office.
“We are currently processing over 1,000 applications,” Hancock said. “Brazos County has 110,000 registered voters. That number is up 5,000 from what we were at the primary, and those aren’t the final numbers. We’re still processing and will be well into next week.”

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