By Camille Cox | Staff Writer
The University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas State University and countless others have something that Baylor does not: easy access to a voting poll right on campus. Students at these campuses can vote without driving anywhere. Voting is highly encouraged on these campuses, and students from out of state can easily change their voter registration a few months before because these universities are vocal in their efforts to help students. Even at Texas Christian University, students have the opportunity to get on a bus to their local polling place, free of charge.
Why is Baylor not a polling location? In the presidential perspective sent out Feb. 24, President Linda Livingstone failed to mention that March 1 is primary election day. There is no information for students to even know that an election is happening. While it’s the student’s responsibility to stay informed on our state’s elections, we are college students. We don’t watch NBC Nightly News every night to know when an election is happening.
This primary election was the first in the nation and contained several highly important races. In 2022, the Texas governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state representatives and state senators are up for election. These are giant positions that we, as college students, should vote for. Even though some students may choose to not vote, others might not have known this was even happening. I’m from Houston, and I changed my voter registration to here because I knew that I would not be able to go home to vote. I went to a local elementary school and voted. I am grateful that I have been covering the elections for The Baylor Lariat and am aware of the races taking place, but so many have little to no information that this happened.
Students could have voted if our university had spread the information about registration deadlines and had an on-campus polling site, making it easier for us to vote. While I understand that Baylor is a private university, I believe that’s an even greater reason to do so. TCU and Southern Methodist University both help their students get to polling locations and educate their students on how to vote — something that Baylor does not do. Baylor does not have any updated information about how to mail in voter registration or about upcoming election dates anywhere online like other private Texas universities.
Maybe in the past, during a presidential election, Baylor has provided more tools to help its students vote. But this is still an election year. We are voting in November and have had no help in understanding how to do so.
In May, there will be a runoff election that will determine which candidates will be on the ballot in November. This is the next step for the state of Texas before election day in November. I encourage all students to figure out where they can vote and to do it. If you don’t want to change your registration and can go home to vote, do it. If you want to request a mail-in ballot, do it. Just because we are busy students does not mean that we can’t vote and make our voices heard. It is up to us to become educated and vote, with or without the help of our university.