Houston MSTC seniors on Monday filed into the school library, past patriotic banners and toward tables dotted with voter registration forms.
As part of their government classes, the students were learning about the importance of registering to vote and how the voting process works. They also were the main audience for a news conference in which Mi Familia Vota (MFV) – joined by HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza, Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, and state Sen. Sylvia Garcia – announced the state’s High School Voter Registration Initiative.
“At HISD, we strive not only to send our graduates out into the world prepared for success in college or careers,” Carranza said. “We also strive to send them out to be good citizens who understand their civic responsibility and participate in the process that every single one of us must participate in, which is voting.”
Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day, and through the High School Voter Registration Initiative, more than 140 Texas superintendents have pledged to ensure that their high school principals serve as deputy voter registrars at their respective campuses. In addition, the secretary of state said his office is looking at high schools first as polling locations to give students ample opportunity to vote.
“When you’re well-educated and involved, that is the best way to help serve your community,” Pablos said.
Houston MSTC senior Jacqueline Cano, who turns 18 on Tuesday, said she is excited to register to vote and cast her ballot in the Nov. 7 election.
“My family is Hispanic, and I’ve seen what it’s cost my family not to vote and not making our voice heard,” Cano said. “For me, it’s important to show that we have a voice.”
Carlos Duarte, the Mi Familia Vota Texas director, said the statewide effort register voters is critical to increasing participation in elections.
“Texas’ voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election was only 46.45 percent of the voting age population,” Duarte said. “Voting is the great equalizer in our democracy, and it is important that we instill the culture of voting among our youths.”
Americans can register to vote online at NationalVoterRegistrationDay.org. Supporters can also follow National Voter Registration Day activities through social media on Sept. 26 by searching #NationalVoterRegistrationDay.
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