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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

Commissioners Court announces Parks and Recreation Month, addresses early voting sites

The+Hays+County+Historic+Courthouse.

The Hays County Historic Courthouse.

During its July 19 meeting, the Hays County Commissioners Court declared July as Parks and Recreation month in Hays County and addressed the early voting sites for the upcoming election as part of an agenda of over 50 items. 
Katherine Sturdivant, the education and outreach coordinator for the Hays County Parks Department, expressed the vitality of the parks and their tasks as a department of only seven full time employees ranging from ages 25-61 years old.
“The services that park and recreation professionals provide are vital to our communities,” Sturdivant said. “These parks are natural resources that support physical and mental health. As parks specialists, we do everything including general office duties, trail maintenance, public education and invasive species management.”
According to Sturdivant, during the peak of COVID-19, the parks found themselves in more use than before thus the theme for the parks this year is ‘Rise Up’.
Judge Becerra pointed out that the parks are very beneficial for everyone and people can learn how to replenish oneself from nature. As part of his campaign promise to make Hays County the central park of central Texas, he believes the department is doing just that. 
“I always say and COVID as you pointed out brought this out more than ever, we should treat it treat ourselves like plants; sunlight, fresh air, clean water and good nutrients,” Becerra said. 
Thanks were exchanged, the proclamation was signed, hands were shaken between the commissioners and Sturdivant and pictures were taken before moving on with the agenda. 
While the next election is in November, early voting is set to start the last week of October. For many citizens of Hays County, there are concerns regarding the number of voting machines available and the discontinuance of certain voting poll locations.
During public comment, multiple citizens addressed these concerns, including Dan Delimuniche who expressed his concern with the possible discontinuing of using Simon Middle School as a voting polls, which he believes serves as much more than just a faculty to cast a vote. 
“I do not support removing Simon middle school as an early voting location for the residents in East Kyle,” said Delimuniche. “Taking away Simon middle school as an early voting location also removes opportunities for students to see democracy in action. I strongly feel that the younger children are exposed to civic engagement, the higher the likelihood they will turn into regular voters in adulthood.”
Concerns about voter suppression were addressed by another Hays County resident, Heiko Stang, who believes the distribution of voting machines ought to be equally divided to ensure democracy still beats. 
“I’m highly concerned about the fairness of elections in our county,” said Stang. “Changing locations and more eligible voters per voting location puts certain neighborhoods at a disadvantage by making it harder and more complicated to vote and risk not all voters being heard.”
However, Stang offered a solution to the commissioners to resolve this pressing issue. 
“To ensure free and fair elections, everyone should have equal access to voting locations. There should be one voting location for a certain number of eligible voters throughout all neighborhoods in the county,” said Stang. “I urge the Court to put voting locations in areas according to population density, and the number of eligible voters anything else is unacceptable in a democratic society that guarantees equal rights for everyone.”
Judge Becerra then addressed these concerns by voicing his opinion on the need of purchasing more voting machines.
“Don’t tell me we don’t have money to buy more machines. That’s a cop out. We know elections are coming and the day I’m gone. I still support it,” said Becerra. “We need more machines vote for me vote against me, but you need to have access to voting. That’s all there is to it. Whoever you support, whoever you don’t support, whether it’s school board, whether it’s city council, whether it’s County, whether it’s state or federal, just give them the access to vote and let’s stop acting as if we have a crisis of equipment.”
The Hays County Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. on select Tuesdays each month. For more information, visit hayscountytx.com/commissioners-court/.

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