Student organizations at Richland College are educating eligible voters on the voting process. The Student Government Association (SGA) and the Office of Student Life (OSL) are hosting an election awareness event Sept. 25 and 26. Students can register to vote, practice using a voting machine and meet people from a number of political organizations.
“The election awareness event is intended to bring more awareness to students about voting and elections, that voting actually matters, and that young people’s voices do make a change,” said Kelly Sonnanstine with Richland’s OSL.
Throughout the day, the League of Women Voters and its registrars will help people sign up to vote in the El Paso lounge. Student clubs will work with professors to bring registrars into classrooms to register more voters.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 26, students will have the opportunity to meet with various political groups, including members of the Republican and Democratic parties, Students Demand Action, Spread the Vote, Texas Rising and Turning Point USA. The Dallas County Elections office will provide voting machines, so a mock election can be held. There will also be snow cones and music.
SGA Vice President Edward Sesay spent much of the summer planning the event.
“I’m excited for this event,” said Sesay. “What I want to accomplish is to make sure people are registered to vote, and people can understand what is the point of this beautiful nation that we buy into, and have the freedom to vote and make your voice heard.”
In previous events, students had the chance to use tools available at www.votesmart.org to find out how their values align with politicians who are running for office.
“Students [who tried the service] were pleasantly surprised by the results because they actually learned what the candidates actually stood for,” Sonnanstine said.
Those interested in finding out where their views fall on the political spectrum can visit www.votesmart.org, select their congressional district and answer a few questions on the topics of the day. The program will show users how their views align with the federal candidates in the Nov. 6 election. There will also be a chance to use the program in the student lounge on Sept. 26.
Everyone is invited to participate in the election awareness event. The criteria for eligible voters includes U.S. citizenship, residency in the county where they apply, be at least 18 years of age on Election Day, not be a convicted felon or deemed mentally incompetent by a court. The registration deadline is Oct. 9.