Vote Texas campaign makes stop at Texas State

Special to the Star

Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry led a round-table discussion with Student Government members and Student Affairs leaders Tuesday in an effort to emphasize the importance of student voting.

The Vote Texas campaign is kicking off with a college tour, covering 11 universities in Texas, including Texas State, Texas A&M, UT Pan-Am, Texas Tech, University of Houston and University of Texas, Berry said.

Berry, at the head of the table, began the round-table discussion and spoke about the power of a student’s voice.

"I want to talk to college students really more in a round-table discussion and talk about the election season and voting, " Berry said.

She addressed how college students are unique to the voting process. Students can decide whether to register as voters in their home counties or as residents of the counties where they attend school. However, that is only the first decision college students make in the voting process, said Berry.

"The reason we've decided to start with college students is that most first-time voters between 18 and 24 are very uncertain about the process," Berry said.

She emphasized the importance of knowing which forms of photo ID were approved by the legislature because student IDs are not accepted.

"I think that is going to be one of our main problems, is making sure they do have proper registration and proper identification, " said Tiffany Young, student body president.

Another obstacle in getting students to the polls on voting day is making sure they know how to vote, Berry said.

"Every eligible voter in the state of Texas has that opportunity to go vote and the assurance that their vote will be counted," Berry said.

The Vote Texas Campaign addresses student uncertainty and streamlines the voting process with its website, VoteTexas.gov.

Berry’s role is to make sure that if people want to vote, they know where to go to get voting information, she said.

The website is easy to maneuver and is “very helpful,” Young said.

"I think that is going to be a great tool for students, especially to train people that we are going to have do a voting registration drive so they can answer those frequently asked questions," Young said.

The first registration drive will be Sept. 17, and the second will proceed on Sept. 30, Young said. The Student Government Cabinet will wait until after the planned registration drives to determine if others will be held.

"Your vote is your voice,” Berry said. “We need different voices, different perspectives, in order for the harmony to come out just right."