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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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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Getting politically serious

Alright Aggies, it’s time to get (politically) serious.
Early voting for the Nov. 4 election began Monday, and if you haven’t researched the candidates, it’s time to start doing your homework. This isn’t some assignment you get to blow off.
Texas has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country. Out of the 14 million Texans who are registered to vote, only 1.9 million voted in the March primaries. That’s only 13.5 percent of registered Texans. To put that in Aggieland perspective, in our record breaking attendance game against Ole Miss, there were approximately 110,000 fans in the stands. However, if the numbers matched this year’s voting statistics, there would have only been 14,850 people in the entire stadium. Kyle Field would have been much quieter without all those fans, and so are the elections.
Why don’t people vote? I wish I had a reasonable answer. The arguments people give are that they don’t care about politics, they can’t take the time out of their day to vote or they think their voice doesn’t matter. Every single one of these excuses, every one of them, is not a good excuse.
If you don’t care about politics, then you don’t care about your education, your community, your livelihood. Every one of these is affected in some way by the government, a body of people that we (for the most part) have the power to elect. Federal, state and local elections are included on this ballot, and all of these can affect our day-to-day lives.
For those people who say they can’t take the time out of their day to vote, this argument is one that has an inkling of fairness to it, but there are alternatives to fix that problem. For people registered to vote in Bryan-College Station, voting booths are open in College Station from around 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., which are the typical hours of business operations. Stop at the poll in the MSC between classes, or go to a voting location during your lunch break.
The excuse that a person’s voice doesn’t matter is the one that hurts me to hear the most. Texas is known as a red state, meaning Republicans occupy a majority of offices in the state. As a result, voters who are more conservative don’t vote because they are under the mindset the conservative candidates will win anyway, and liberal-leaning voters in the state aren’t motivated for the same reason. While this might be the case in some offices, it is not a guarantee. Some elections are determined by as little as two votes. It has happened before, here in Bryan-College Station. But if everyone assumes his or her vote doesn’t make a difference, then no one votes. Your opinion matters. You never know when your ballot may make a deciding difference. Even if it only happens one out of 20 times, that one vote is still significant. And for the other 19, at least you did your part to support your candidate.
I can’t force you to vote. No one can. We live in a country of choices, which means that yes, you have the choice to not vote. But you should. 10 minutes out of your day can have lasting and impactful results. People like to have their voice heard, and voting booths are set up exactly for that purpose. No one can get mad at you for your opinion, because the whole point of the booth and the ballot is to have an opinion.
I won’t lie and say I’ve voted in every election since I turned 18. But I’ve come to realize voting is an opportunity that millions of people throughout the world do not have the privilege to participate in. It is truly something special.
So whether your political mascot is a donkey, elephant, a mixture of both or none of the above, let your voice be heard. Pick up a ballot and make your vote count.
Jennifer Reily is a communication junior and a news editor for The Battalion.

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