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Palo Alto students prepare for presidential election

By Jocelynn Mireles | Pulse Staff Reporter

Palo Alto students prepare for presidential election

The 2008 presidential election captured record numbers of youth voters ages 18-26. This November, Palo Alto students will have the same opportunity for their voices to be heard.

Students at Palo Alto College have many responsibilities. It’s not hard to see why students don’t put registering to vote as a top priority. What students don’t take into consideration is that voting is essential for our generation to be represented.

“As a student in college, you want to set the best example to your brothers and sisters, as well as your friends and family, and part of that example is to be an engaged citizen, to exercise not only the right and privilege to vote, but the responsibilities of voting,” said Maria del Rosario “Rosie” Castro, director of the Center for Academic Transitions.

In order to get the word out about voter registration and deadlines, students need to be pushed and constantly reminded.

“Having events for voting will get students to [register] because it will put it in the front of their minds; it’ll be a constant reminder of what needs to get done,” said Jillian Ozuna, a sophomore Mathematics major.

One of the issues affecting college students directly is healthcare. Many students at Palo Alto College place their families as their number one priority.

“I’m a single father, and you never hear about anything to help us out. I am concerned about the well being of my children and don’t want to worry about going in debt if my kids have to visit the emergency room,” said Eddie Soriano, a freshman Business major.

The Alamo Colleges provide an accidental insurance plan that all students receive as long as they are registered for classes. Upon registration, a $1 fee is charged to cover student insurance. This insurance can only be used for severe accidents inside or out of campus.

Another issue that affects students are loans and grants. Students should not be deprived of education just because they cannot afford it. In March of 2010, President Barack Obama signed what is known as the Community College Partnership Program.

This program provides competitive grants for community colleges, requiring that two-year colleges develop strong employer partnerships. These grants will ensure that colleges meet today’s employer needs. The grant will ultimately provide a total of $2 billion to community colleges over a four-year period.

“Alamo Colleges and colleges in South Texas are partnering up with Eagle Ford Shale to create new jobs in the oil and gas industry from tech positions to corporate offices,” said Dr. Federico Zaragoza, vice chancellor of Economic and Workforce Development. “The workforce program also provides Continuing Education for current employees to ensure they keep those jobs.”

Another problem students may come across is the new Voter ID Law. If students are coming in from out of town, they may run into a problem this year when they attempt to vote in the presidential election. The law requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID, like a driver's license or a passport that matches the address on state voter registration rolls.

Ginny Stowitts-Traina, chair of the Social Sciences Department, is not happy that the new Voter ID Law will not count college ID’s as valid photo identification.
 

“I feel like this is unfair treatment against minorities, low income [families], senior citizens and college students.”

Students can obtain voter registration cards at any public buildings, like libraries, post offices and high schools. There is also the option of filling out the form online. You print it and mail it to your local/county registrar. For more information about voter registration, visit http://votetexas.gov/, http://elections.bexar.org/, and http://votesmart.org/  

When citizens elect a public official, we expect that official to champion our best interests. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain if your best interests aren’t represented.