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The Student News Site of Texas State University

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

First-time voters exercise their right at the polls

Carlene Ottah
Academic adviser Claire Richardson (left) receives her access code from team leader Aart Millecam (back), Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023 at the LBJ Student Center.

As the highly anticipated Election Day edges closer in the San Marcos community, a buzz surrounds the Texas State campus as some students prepare to exercise their right to vote for the first time.

In the upcoming city general election, eligible citizens are casting their vote for 14 Texas propositions and council members in places three and four. Currently, Alyssa Garza and Shane Scott occupy these positions, respectively.

David Rodriguez, a political science graduate student and a first-time voter in the San Marcos election, said he is looking for transparency in the candidates he chooses.

“Historically [in other elections], there have been candidates who I voted for that when push came to shove they did not vote the way I thought they would on an issue,” Rodriguez said.

Being a political science student, Rodriguez said he learned the importance of voting, specifically in a city like San Marcos that he believes has a predominantly student populous.

“The university has a large economic benefit to the area, and more than that, it has a large impact on Texas,” Rodriguez said. “These are the kids who are going to go out and work in the places and make differences in different areas of Texas.”

Jermari Rini, a marketing freshman, said being a first-time voter in San Marcos is one of the final steps in his transition to adulthood.

“It gives me more sense of responsibility because you see older people voting, but now I’m going to vote,” Rini said. “It’s now something that I do, especially as a college student.”

Rini said he hopes the newly-elected councilmembers focus on addressing the pressing issues of parking and transportation, which have remained persistent obstacles for him as a resident and student.

However, Braeden Aubrey, a geographic information systems freshman, said while he’s been given the opportunity to vote, his decision is based on what would work best for long-term residents and not people like him who are leaving after college.

“The perspective of Texas State students is different from that of local San Marcos residents,” Aubrey said. “I just look around and think what would the people actually living here want.”

Aubrey said he only got invested in politics recently and wants to take that newfound interest to make a difference.

Having never voted before, Aubrey said he did not run into any issues with voter registration, but he struggled to find out where the polls were.

“I didn’t know where to vote until I went to the local library and I asked a nice lady and she told me as a Texas State student I can go to LBJ [Student Center],” Aubrey said.

For many freshmen like Rini and Aubrey, this marks a significant year of first experiences — from navigating independent living for the first time to transitioning into college life and, most importantly, being a first-time voter. However, this new voting experience brings with it the responsibility to make well-informed decisions.

Rini said he is committed to remaining well-informed about the various ballot measures he votes on, emphasizing the importance of staying engaged beyond the election period.

Rodriguez said he always stays up to date on the local newspapers to see what is going on in the community to make an educated vote.

“There’s a lot of resources, like The Star, Community Impact and even Snapchat has a ‘What’s on your ballot?’ resource and I’ve used all of those resources,” Rodriguez said. “The biggest thing is research.”

While voting for the first time can be exciting, Aubrey said it can be overwhelming to make the right decision, but he finds solace in looking back on how things are done in a familiar place like his hometown New Braunfels.

“Yes, voting is scary. Yes, it’s a lot of responsibility,” Aubrey said. “It is your vote though and if you do it, you may inspire someone else to vote and that makes it a loss less lonely.”

For more information on the general elections, visit the city’s website.

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