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Elections 2012: To vote or not to vote

By James Ratcliff | Pulse Staff Reporter

With the voter registration deadline already passed, questions like “Am I registered to vote?” and “Will I be able to vote in time?” turn into ones like “I can vote, but do I want to?” and “Why should I vote in the first place?”

With the 2012 Election on Nov. 6 right around the corner, different questions still need to be answered.

2012 Election Candidates At Palo Alto College, students have varied reasons for doing what they will and will not do in November. While some students will vote, others have their reasons for not voting.

“I will not be voting in November because I am not registered to vote here in Texas,” said Jeanette Gayle, an Applied Science major. “I was registered to vote in Alabama before I returned to Texas.”

Despite not being able to vote in Texas for this election, Gayle stressed that the right to vote should not be squandered.

“Voting is important,” said Gayle. “If you do not vote, then you shouldn’t complain about how the government is run.”

Some students will be voting in the upcoming election for the first time. The occasion can be a nerve-wracking one.

“I’ve never experienced this before,” said Joey Gamez, a Music Education major. “So, I am kind of nervous.”

Like Gayle, Gamez said that voting in an election does matter. “It’s important because you have a say in politics,” said Gamez.

Claudia Cienfuegos, a Pre-Med major, said, “This is my first election and first time voting.” Compared to the nervous Gamez, Cienfuegos is calm about voting. “I am not really nervous about it,” she said.

When voting in an election of this magnitude, it is important to know what seats of public office are on the ballot, and not just those at the presidential level. Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Paul Sadler are vying for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison. In the United States House of Representatives, Democrat Pete Gallego is challenging the Republican incumbent Francisco “Quico” Canseco in Texas Congressional District 23, Palo Alto College’s district.

With many state and local offices on the ballot, the importance of voting is magnified that much more. When it comes to first-time voters, having encouragement is crucial towards voting.

“I think it’s something I should do,” said Cienfuegos. “My parents think it is a good idea.”

According to VoteTexas.org, local newspapers will post the address and location of where voters can place their vote according to the precinct number on their voter registration card. The information will be printed in the Saturday, Nov. 3 edition of local daily newspapers, like the San Antonio-Express News.

With a voter registration card and a valid form of identification, like a Texas driver’s license or I.D. card, polls on Election Day are open to voters between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Early voting will begin on Oct. 22 and last until Nov. 2. The full list of locations is available online, in English and Spanish, at the Bexar County Elections website at elections.bexar.org and clicking on Early Voting Locations and Hours of Operation.

At Palo Alto College, student transportation for early voting will be available on Oct. 22 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information is available at the Office of Student Engagement & Retention in the Student Center, Room 124, or by calling (210) 486-3125.