Lubbock county officials and Texas Tech professors are urging Lubbock citizens and Tech students to register to vote by Monday, Feb. 5, to vote or make changes for the forthcoming primary elections on Tuesday, March 6.
With an institutional enrollment of more than 30,000 undergraduate students, according to the university website, some individuals might not know how to register to vote as a citizen of Lubbock.
The prerequisites to vote are registering to vote in the county one lives in, be a U.S. citizen, be 18-years-old by election day and not be convicted of a felony nor be mentally incapacitated, according to the voting application.
Voter registration applications can be found at the Lubbock county elections office, drivers license office, public libraries, post offices and various other government offices. Applications must be complete and postmarked 30 days before the election, according to votelubbock.org.
“If they want to be registered in Lubbock county they should contact our office,” Roxine Stinson, chief deputy of the Lubbock county elections office, said. “They can go fill out an application, you do have to print it, sign it, and send it in, because we have to have that signature on file,” she said.
The Lubbock county elections office, located at 1308 Crickets Ave. and can be contacted by calling 806-775-1339 or visiting its website votelubbock.org. Stinson suggests students should also look out for volunteer deputies on campus.
“Last year thousands registered with their help,” she said.
Volunteer deputies can help students with disabilities fill out the applications, guide other students in the process and prescreen the applications for completeness, she said.
Students interested in voting in Lubbock must have a residential address in Lubbock county, she said. Those who live on campus can use the address of the university including their dorm hall name and dorm room number.
Becoming a registered voter is big step in transitioning into adulthood. For most students this is the first opportunity to become involved in their community and make independent choices of who should represent them.
Daniel Epstein, professor of political science with Texas Tech, said those who value democracy and the American way should take the five minutes of time and register to vote.
“If you’re over 18, a citizen and you don’t actually vote other people are making your decisions for which is basically how a dictatorship works,” Epstein said. “If we had an additional 10,000 Texas Tech undergrad students all of the sudden register to vote, and actually vote, they could swing the upcoming mayoral election, they could even swing the state legislator election.”
Individuals who want to become informed on upcoming election and current politics should pay attention to some form of local news as well as national, such as National Public Radio, Epstein said.
“In college you are beginning to express yourself, and part of that is our civic expression, of which voting is the most important part,” Aaron Frodsham, GIS Specialist with Lubbock county elections office, said.
Currently registered voters should verify their information with their local county elections office to ensure they know their right voting districts, precincts, where they can vote and so that the county has the correct identification of voters, he said.
Upcoming elections include the primary elections on Tuesday, March 6 and the city, school and mayoral elections will take place Saturday, May 5. Early voting for the primary election will start on Tuesday, Feb. 20 and end Friday, March 2, according to votelubbock.org.
Those interested in working the polls during election or as a volunteer deputy should contact their local county election office, he said. When heading out to polls to cast your vote remember to bring an acceptable form of identification that is current or expired less than four years before.
Student identification cards will not be accepted in Texas, according to the website. Acceptable forms of identification in Texas include driver’s license, personal identification card, passport or United States military identification card, according to votelubbock.org.
“Many of the students (who) have just graduated from high school, this is really their first time voting in elections, and there is something to be said for that experience of going down to a poll, and choosing on a machine, your vote,” Frodsham said.