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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Opinion: Texas needs to make voting easier for everyone

Polling+locations+illustration
Polling locations illustration

Election Day is less than a month away; most residents must plan to complete their civic duty.
For our democratic elections to continue to be completely free and fair, we need to ensure a fair number of polling locations, extend early voting and voter registration dates and make Election Day a national holiday.
Waiting in line, taking off work, skipping a class or having an alternate voting location too far away should not limit voters.
Hays County Commissioner’s Court has discussed discontinuing early polling locations. We cannot continue to allow this to happen, and we need polling locations that more closely reflect the population it is serving.
In 2019, a Leadership Conference Education report found that Texas leads the nation in polling place closures. There is a lawsuit in nearby Bexar County as their county’s proposal for polling locations for the general election is the fewest ever.
There have been closures to Election Day voting and early voting locations on college campuses across the state, from the University of Texas at Austin to Texas A&M College StationOn the Texas State campus there have been past elections that cause students to get in line after class and wait hours after poll closing time.
There need to be more places for college students to vote on population-dense campuses. Texas State needs more than just the LBJ Student Center for early voting and Election Day. There needs to be voting at the Student Recreation center and Performing Arts Center.
With population density in an area where tens of thousands of college students reside, there should be numerous locations. College students are not the only ones who utilize these locations, residents of San Marcos are encouraged to use them.
There should not be any polling locations closures, and we need more polling locations.
Another way to limit lines is by early voting, which Texas was one of the earliest adopters of, and it has become trendy to plan to try and avoid queues. Early voting this year will take place for 12 days, from Oct. 24 – Nov. 4., but Texas would benefit from more.
Across the U.S., early in-person voting varies from three days to 46, with 23 being the average, meaning Texas has a below-average length. Early voting can also begin as early as 55 days before an election and end closer to Election Day.
Oct. 11 was the last day to register in the state, meaning that if an eligible voter did not register two weeks before early voting, they can’t vote.
22 states in America allow for same-day voter registration and registration during the early voting period.
Texas should implement more early voting time, with voting days on the weekends leading up to Election Day, and have early and same-day voter registration to maximize voter turnout.
Even with the numerous ways we are allowed to vote-in-person, mail-in and curbside, in every state, eligible voters will partake in the 2022 midterm elections by voting on Tuesday, Nov. 9, Election Day.
In the 2020 general election, a record number of registered voters in Texas took part, 66% according to KLTV, which came out to 18.9 million.
But the voting landscape in Texas has changed for those who have not voted since 2020. New voting laws have made it so that how we vote and who will be watching us cast a ballot is different. Partisan poll watchers can now move freely from one poll location to another, which could cause intimidation. In addition, 24-hour, dropbox mail-in and drive-thru voting are no longer. The trend of disenfranchising voters in the state will continue after drastic changes to the state’s voting laws and will create new tension.
If Election Day became nationally recognized, it would release the stress from the American workforce and students. Of the voters that may have registered for the 2020 election, 47% did not vote because of a conflict or being too busy on Election Day, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). A day dedicated to civic engagement would not just be a day off; it would allow students and the working class a day to be prideful.
Detractors will argue that allowing more people to vote will create less informed voters or that the increased ability to vote will cause widespread voter fraud. Or that creating more locations will stretch the poll workers who are overworked and underpaid that, according to Hays County officials, we only sort of have now thin.
But allowing more citizens to vote will help focus attention on elections, creating informed voters. Moreover, voter fraud is minuscule, according to the AP; in the state with the most cases in the 2020 presidential election, Arizona, it accounted for less than 2% of votes, not enough to swing the results. Also, in Hays County, poll worker’s pay was increased to $18 per hour for presiding judges, election techs, early voting ballot board, and central count workers, while election day clerks will make $16 per hour.
Giving every eligible Texan the ability to vote easier would allow for a government more representative of its population and let the disenfranchised in this country have a voice. Encourage your local lawmakers to create fairer elections in your community, and keep in mind what politicians think of elections before heading to the ballot box.
– Dillon Strine is a journalism senior
The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinions Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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