Primaries are here — and not just for the president
Early voting ends this Friday, Feb. 28 and Election Day is next Tuesday, March 3. If you have the privilege of being registered to vote, get out the vote on behalf of yourself, your communities and everyone who is institutionally excluded from our election processes. Political apathy is rampant in this country and on our campus with only 42 percent voter turnout last year. But we urge you to care. Our future will be shaped by the people we elect to office and the decisions they make regarding the issues we talk about, protest for and care about.
Preparing to vote goes beyond being informed on your choice for your party’s presidential nominee — there are 63 local and statewide races on the ballot for you to vote on. If you chose to register to vote in Texas, you must also be informed on those races. Your vote will affect the surrounding community for much longer than the four years you’re here. Print or write your picks before entering the polls — Texas typically doesn’t allow you to pull out your phone in the voting booth.
We are not endorsing candidates for this election, but we hope to provide more information on the roles of these elected officials and the implications of the possible ballot choices.
Texas U.S. Senator
The incumbent is Senator John Cornyn (R). He faces four Republican challengers and 12 Democrats vying for the party nomination. According to the Texas Tribune, Cornyn is widely expected to win his party’s nomination and will likely face one of the top six Democratic candidates who have at least 3 percent support in a Texas Tribune poll and have raised at least $100,000: Chris Bell, Amanda Edwards, MJ Hegar, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, Royce West and Sema Hernandez. Read the Texas Tribune voter guide (linked online) to understand where the Democratic candidates fall on almost every issue or watch the Democratic candidate debate and read the Tribune’s coverage.
U.S. Representative, District 2
The incumbent is Representative Dan Crenshaw (R) who won in 2018 with 52.8 percent of the vote. The Republican primary is uncontested, but three Democrats are vying for the party’s nomination. Democratic challengers Elisa Cardnell, Sima Ladjevardian and Travis Olsen all offer compelling reasons why they should be the party’s nominee in an attempt to beat him. To learn more about their policies, you can look at ballotpedia or vote411.org.
Texas Railroad Commissioner
The incumbent is Ryan Sitton (R), who faces one Republican challenger and four Democrats vying for party nomination. Sitton is one of three commissioners, who serve for six years. The name is misleading — they regulate the energy industry, including policies regarding pollution prevention, gas utility rates and alternative fuels. This position has historically been competitive, with a Republican winning the 2018 commissioner race by 53.2 percent.
More from The Rice Thresher
The upcoming presidential election may be the most important of our lifetime. It also comes in the middle of a life-changing pandemic that has seriously altered election administration. Although election procedures continue to be finalized, we now have a solid idea of what our options are for voting in November and as the election judge for Rice’s polling location this year, I’m here to break it all down for you.
This March, when students across campus received an email announcement that classes were shifted to a remote format for the rest of the semester, many of us had one preliminary concern: How will we move out of our dorms? With piles of personal belongings remaining in empty dorms, the job of packing and moving boxes was relegated to students, most of whom did the job without pay. In an interview for an article in our features section this week, one student said he spent approximately 75 hours on the task.
Recently, I was eating dinner outdoors when I saw a classmate throw a plastic Gatorade bottle in the trash can. I mentioned it, and she told me that she wasn’t recycling because there was still Gatorade in the bottle. When I suggested that she empty and rinse out the bottle to recycle it, she just waved her hand and laughed. I returned to my room, crushed — that same morning, my family in California’s Bay Area had awoken to another day of hazardous smoke and “snowing” ash from three nearby wildfires, and some of the sites of my childhood memories had burned to the ground.