The Prospector

Early voting on campus available Thursday

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Early voting on campus available Thursday

Oscar Avila, Contributor

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On Oct. 25 and Nov. 2, UTEP will host a Mobile Voting Station in the Union Building East, from 8 am to 5 pm in the Andesite Room 102B. Students, faculty and community voting members will have an opportunity to vote on campus as part of early voting.

Some professors on campus like Dr. Jose Villalobos, a political science professor, are making efforts on and off campus to encourage as many citizens as possible to register.

“As far as what I’ve been involved with it’s been now over 12,000 people that have been interacted with and given a registration card to register to vote,” Dr. Villalobos said.

In one experience, he recalled holding his one-year-old son on his hip while he handed out registration cards outside of the Union building during a whole semester. After running into him, people would fill out the card and mail it off inside once they were done.

In the beginning, many students agreed to fill out a voter registration card and toward the end, several students said that he had already asked them and that they already registered.

“I had felt like I had pretty much covered that population of students for the time that I was going to lunch on the days that I was doing that,” Dr. Villalobos said.

The collective efforts of the faculty over the years have done so well that more and more people are saying they have already registered when asked. Moreover, organizations outside of campus have started reaching out to teenagers at high school to register those of an eligible age.

“Now, with even some of the newest freshmen coming in they’re coming in, and we’re saying, ‘hey, have you registered to vote?’ and a lot more of them than in the past are saying, ‘yeah, we have,’” Villalobos said.

Additionally, the El Paso County Elections Department’s website reports that as of Oct. 19, there are 457,371 registered voters. The number of voters this year is a relative increase in comparison to the 2016 election, which saw 399,747 registered voters according to the El Paso Times.

Clearly, the awareness about the importance of voting has spread over those two years. Jairemy Edwards, a senior political science major says, it becomes increasingly salient and you become increasingly aware of it.”

For junior health sciences major Samantha Arellano, it is not just important to be aware of registration, but to know if the candidates are trustworthy.

“They promise all this stuff and it never happens so I’m just kind of like at the point where it’s like what’s the point of doing all that,” Arellano said.

She noted that one of her professors notified her peers and her to become involved in the election, however no one happened to inform her on the respective purposes of each candidate. Thus, she did not feel as inclined to vote even though her professor encouraged it.

Nevertheless, the aim is not to persuade students to go for one candidate over the other. In Dr. Villalobos’ words, “it’s non-partisan, we just want people to be registered and to think about that voice that they can have.”

Oscar Avila may be reached at theprospector1@gmail.com.

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Early voting on campus available Thursday