Students should be proactive about voting in hometown elections during semester

Noah M. Horwitz

So much attention has been directed toward presidential candidates that few have considered the elections taking place in Texas on Nov. 3.

The Texas Legislature passed seven Constitutional Amendments throughout their 84th session earlier this year. These amendments were all passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities and are mostly uncontroversial. But the people of the state of Texas must still vote on and approve each one of them.

The amendments vary from providing property tax relief to the elderly to providing more dedicated sources of revenue for the State’s highway fund and even codifying the right of Texans to hunt and fish. As mentioned, they’re all mostly uncontroversial, but some people will vote against all government action, no matter how unremarkable.

Other local elections will take place. Eleven school districts will hold elections on Nov. 3, as will seven cities throughout the state and countless other smaller municipalities. The largest of these, Houston, will elect a new mayor and city controller, and have all 17 members of its City Council up for election.

Most students at this University do not have their legal residences at school. This means, for those who have registered to vote, an additional process is needed for the unnecessary step of voting in Austin. Students who still legally reside in their hometown can easily vote back home by mail, through a simple concept known as absentee voting.

“Being away from home is no excuse not to vote,” said Mike Sullivan, the Harris County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar. “You just request a ballot be mailed to you, and it arrives promptly. It couldn’t be any easier.”
The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is Oct. 23. The form to request a ballot is on one’s home county’s County Clerk website.

Additionally, even if students are unwilling to or uninterested in voting this November, the procedures still hold true for the many upcoming elections. And the entire electorate in Texas will be invited on the first day of March to select their favorite choice for President, either in the Democratic or Republican primary.  

Going to college provides an excuse for a number of things, but not voting in your hometown elections is not one of them.

Horwitz is a government senior from Houston. You can follow him on Twitter @nmhorwitz.