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

The Battalion

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

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Student groups, Fort Worth mayor urge students to vote

Mayor+of+Fort+Worth+Mattie+Parker+with+a+voting+sticker+on+May+7%2C+2022.
Via Facebook

Mayor of Fort Worth Mattie Parker with a voting sticker on May 7, 2022.

Texas A&M student organizations and the mayor of Fort Worth encourage students to get out the vote.

Ahead of the November 2022 midterm elections, Texas Aggie Democrats have done plenty of work to encourage students to vote. 

Political science senior Victoria Fajardo, secretary of Texas Aggie Democrats, said her organization partnered with other student groups to increase voter turnout.

“We’ve actually partnered with other organizations on campus like [Mobilize, Organize, Vote and Empower, or] MOVE Texas [and] Students for Beto,” Fajardo said. “We have done voter registration drives, we’ve held a number of those over the fall semester up until this point, we have also had candidates come speak to our organization … Just anything we can to get the word out.”

The exclusion of the Memorial Student Center, or MSC, as an early voting site brought with it accusations of student voter suppression. Fajardo anticipates this may have the opposite effect than intended.

“Locally with what recently happened with the MSC, I’ve seen a lot of people come out and be more involved now that they’re hearing about the issues that are happening,” Fajardo said.

Voting is not supposed to be a political issue, however, but rather a civic duty, and Fajardo said all A&M students should vote, despite the added burden of distance at the new polling location, at the College Station City Hall.

“Regardless of what you believe and where you lie on the political spectrum, it is important for you to go out and vote; that is your right to go out and do and this was just very out of nowhere but also just very deliberate, and especially to college students,” Fajardo said. “It seemed deliberate because the MSC, in the 2020 presidential election, voted Democratic whereas the new location skewed more Republican. So that just looks a little bit sketchy.”

North of the College Station campus, Texas A&M School of Law student organizations like the American Constitution Society are also trying to get out the vote in Fort Worth. Ny’esha Young, a second-year law student, worked in state government before law school. Her experience impressed upon her the importance of voting at the local level.

“People have to vote in their local elections,” Young said. “People often think, ‘Well, my congressman is my party.’ Your mayor, your local city council, those are the people who really matter and are all too often forgotten. If they’re up for election, I’ll definitely vote for that.”

Elections have consequences far beyond their term, and Young encourages students to look at the larger picture, one that spans generations.

“Voting is important because it’s the only way for people to make a change that’s not [just for a] term,”  Young said. “When you put something into law, when something has been in law for a long period of time, it impacts multiple generations going down the line.”

Mattie Parker, mayor of Fort Worth, has done her part to encourage people to vote.

“As mayor, I get the opportunity to speak in front of groups of residents on a daily basis,” Parker said. “No matter who the audience, it’s always a time to talk about the importance of voting and use my platform to encourage voter turnout.”

When asked about the most important issues on the ballot box, Parker has her constituents’ concerns in mind.

“Constituents I hear from are consistently concerned with the local government issues that impact their daily lives, such as public safety, inflation and cost of living and managing growth and infrastructure,” Parker said. “Ultimately, which elections issues matter most is personal for each individual voter. That’s why it is so important to get every single person out to vote so they are making that heard to their elected leaders.”

A&M students have the opportunity to be heard in state and local elections, so Parker encourages young people to get out the vote.

“Your voice matters. When you vote, you are investing your voice into your community, and someday you all will be the leaders of these communities,” Parker said. “Start leading today, and that includes voting in your local, state and federal elections.”

From elections at the local level to recent decisions from the highest court in the land, Young said student voices matter now more than ever.

“Once something’s in law, it’s really hard to repeal it,” Young said. “If you don’t get the first bite at the apple, the next bite may not come for generations down the line.”

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