North Texas Daily

Students, faculty encourage participation in Texas’ primary election

Students, faculty encourage participation in Texas’ primary election

Students, faculty encourage participation in Texas’ primary election
February 10
09:15 2022

The polls are opening soon for the Texas primary election and candidates and voters are gearing up for the event. 

Each party will choose its candidate for seven statewide seats as well as district-based congressional and legislative offices, the State Board of Education positions and judicial seats. The early voting period will open on Feb. 14 and close on Feb. 25, with election day being held March 1.

“Primaries play a huge role in the electoral process,” political science Associate Professor Bethany Blackstone said. “Candidates are vying for the right to carry their party’s banner in a general election that will determine who holds public office. In areas where one political party is dominant, the primary election may provide the best opportunity for voters to shape electoral outcomes.”

Some college students use mail-in ballots to cast their vote as they are away from home, and the appropriate application will be accepted through Feb. 18. The application can be mailed, delivered in person, faxed or emailed to the appropriate county voting clerk. The last day a mail-in ballot will be accepted is March 1 at 7 p.m.

It is really important that you request your ballot ahead of time and follow the directions precisely,” Blackstone said. 

In preparation for the election, Blackstone recommends that students review candidates’ websites and look for voter information guides and sample ballots

Collin Renfro, public relations senior and UNT Democrats communications director, said he suggests that students go down the ballot and see what the different candidates stand for, as well as learn their history as a politician and as a person. 

The Young Americans for Freedom, a nonpartisan conservative student group on campus, was unable to provide a comment before the time of print.

Certain candidates have traveled to North Texas during their campaigns, like Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, who is running against incumbent Greg Abbott. O’Rourke visited Denton on Feb. 6, discussing campaign ideas such as “winterizing” the gas supply, connecting the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to the country’s power grid and lowering utility bills. 

“Beto is running again, he’s a very familiar name, so he’s definitely someone to look at,” Renfro said. “[UNT Democrats] hasn’t endorsed anyone or anything like that […] we encourage making your own judgment as to who you think best represents you.”

A Feb. 19 event hosted by Denton Together and UNT Dems will bring three candidates right on campus. The candidate forum will include Lee Merritt, Joe Jaworski and Rochelle Garza, who are all running for attorney general.

Additionally, Texas gained two more congressional seats after the 2020 census, leading to the creation of a new 38-district congressional map. The state’s current delegation consists of 23 Republicans and 13 Democrats, while voters will be able to influence who returns and who takes the new seats. 

“I think it’s almost more important to vote in local elections, like this where it’s people representing the state of Texas or our county or our city because these are people who are going to make decisions that really directly impact us,” Renfro said. “They are people that you’re more likely to be able to reach out to about your issues and concerns.” 

Lieutenant governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner and comptroller are among high power positions being voted on, all of which have a Republican incumbent in the race. The land commissioner race includes all new candidates, as incumbent George P. Bush is running for attorney general. 

Gavvy Lott, political science and communications studies sophomore, said they feel primaries are often overlooked, as voters often just wait until the “actual election” in November. 

“Primaries are the foundation blocks for shaping our democracy, in that, we decide who will be on the ballot, and who has the potential to win an election,” Lott said. “College students, as the state and nation’s future, should be at the forefront of shaping the elections that decide and bolster our democracy.”

More information on voting in Denton can be found at the Division of Student Affairs website: studentaffairs.unt.edu/vote/faq.

 Featured Image: Campaign signs around the Denton County Offices on Feb. 7, 2022. Photo by Ileana Serrano

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Jillian Nachtigal

Jillian Nachtigal

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