Professor encourages students to vote in upcoming presidential election

Maia Samboy

With the 2016 presidential election nearing, many students are deciding which candidate to vote for.

Jennifer Jefferson, a visiting assistant professor in university studies and voter registrar, feels strongly about students voting.

“I stress the importance of voting,” Jefferson said. “This is a great responsibility and I think it’s very important to vote and exercise this right. A lot of people have died for this right.”

Jefferson and the university are encouraging students to vote. Signs reminding students to register can be found across campus.

Voting registration stations can be found at 4-8 p.m. in the Recreation and Convocation Center on Oct. 4, 6 and 10.

Students will be with a voter registrar that will assist them in meeting the requirements to be registered to vote in Travis County.

Students can also pick up a voter registration form from Ragsdale. This form must be mailed to and received by the county.

If you are planning on voting on campus, you must be registered in Travis County. If you are already registered in another county in Texas, you must re-register in Travis County by the Oct. 11 deadline.

To vote in this election, you must be a U.S. citizen over the age of 18 on Election Day. You must also be registered to vote 30 days before election day.

For some, like senior Carl Basbas, the dream of voting is not yet a reality.

“I will not be a U.S. citizen until December, so I just missed the chance to vote in this election,” Basbas said. “If I could, I know I would do it. I consider it the ultimate privilege.”

Those who are already registered in a different state or county, may vote in their own area by absentee ballot. In order to do so, you must print out the absentee ballot registration form for your state and send it to the early voting clerk for your county.

Specific, step by step instructions to vote by absentee ballot for each state can be found at www.vote.org/absentee-ballot

While voting by absentee ballot is something many out-of-state students opt for, Jefferson explains the benefits of re-registering in Travis County.

“Voting here makes you feel more connected to living in Travis County, and you get to have a say in the issues that are happening in your community,” she said.

However, if you are registered to vote in a swing state, you may consider voting by absentee ballot your best option.

“I’m registered to vote in Florida, which is a swing state. I’m going to send my ballot back home because I know my vote will really count,” sophomore Reilly Cardillo said.

Some students feel there is no point in voting in the election because they do not feel either candidate represents them.

One headline from The Washington Post reads, “For millennial voters, the Clinton vs. Trump choice ‘feels like a joke’.”

Jefferson warns students of the implications of not voting.

“Young people get frustrated because you don’t see yourselves in the policy issues, you don’t see your voice out there, and then you don’t vote, and that leads to even less representation and less voice,” she said.

If one candidate has positions similar to your own, you should consider voting for that person to minimize the risk of having someone in office whose positions you very much disagree with, Jefferson explained.

Senior Becca Gutierrez echoed this sentiment.

“The problem with this election is that people just see the headlines and the scandals and they don’t look at the deeper issues,” Gutierrez said. “But, if you have a candidate you hate the least, you should vote for them.”