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This past Tuesday, Nov. 5, voters across Harris County went to the polls to cast ballots in local elections. Here at Rice, 851 individuals voted at the Rice Memorial Center. Many important municipal positions were on the ballot, including the Houston mayoral and city council races, along with Texas constitutional propositions. However, a number of Rice students who tried to vote at the RMC did not have an equal opportunity due to gross violations of one of our most essential rights.
Public transportation. Crisis management. Environmental regulation. While these policy issues might seem dry at first glance, they greatly impact young people in Houston. College students often have to ride bikes or take buses. Transportation safety is often determined by local policy. Many of us witnessed Hurricane Harvey and must grapple with the local implications of climate change and large-scale natural disasters; we all breathe the same air with locally-determined pollution levels. And yet, many of us tend to overlook what’s happening at the local level. Everyone should be informed about local issues, including young people.