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Friday, April 19, 2024 — Houston, TX

Don’t let voter apathy win

By Charlie Paul     11/10/15 3:31pm

During Orientation Week, I registered to vote twice in the span of two days. A little strange, but let me explain. As soon as I turned 18, I registered to vote in my home state of Connecticut. Sure, I’m not living there for a while, and don’t care too much about my town’s elections, but it was the best option I thought I had. Then the Rice Vote Coalition told me that, with my on-campus Rice address, I could register to vote in Houston’s elections, so I re-registered to vote here. After all, I’m going to live on campus for four years. I care about the elections that decide who’s going to govern it.

That’s not to say that I’ve been a perfect voter. Unfortunately there’s no cheat sheet for new voters — I had to figure out where to find the list of races on the ballot, research all of the candidates and figure out who to vote for. That’s quite a challenge for the average student, what with tests and homework taking up time. Most challenging of all, I had to remember all of those names on election day! But I walked into the voting booth on Tuesday with a strong understanding of the elections for mayor and controller, and a solid position on Proposition 1.

As you might’ve heard, as it did manage to take the national stage, Proposition 1 — the referendum on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance — failed by quite a large margin. I’m not here to talk about the benefits it would’ve offered, or what the next step should be — we have Google for that. I’m here to talk about the interesting trend that I noticed amongst Rice students. Rice showed an overwhelming support of Proposition 1, both through the administration’s statements and the many hours spent by volunteers helping to raise awareness on the issue. 

But despite all the attention that this election received, there were still plenty of eligible voters who had either not registered or simply not voted. I understand that it’s difficult, and not everybody is interested. But voting is important. This certainly was an issue that will deeply affect many Houstonians for some time. There’s almost 12 months left to register for next year’s election. Go, register and make sure to vote!

Charlie Paul is a McMurtry college freshman.

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