Elections are not a very impactful event at St. Thomas.
Most of this is due to the fact that the majority of students do not meet the legal requirements, specifically the legal age requirement.
However every year, a small number of the student body, mostly seniors who are already 18, hit the polls and use the constitutional right to vote. This year several took part in the 2015 Municipal Election for Mayor and City Council which took place on November 3.
The Houston election is a nonpartisan affair, so although they may be affiliated with a certain political party, candidates do not run as representatives of any political party.
This means that voting students cannot simply vote along party lines and have to do a little extra research in order to determine their pick.
The voters of Houston went to elect a Mayor, Controller, and fill all 16 City Council seats. In these elections the candidate must have over 50% of the votes. The mayoral race and several others met this face and will soon compete in runoff election between the top two candidates to find a winner.
Turner is a member of the Democratic Party and has been a Representative in the House of Representatives since 1989. He was an attorney before he went into politics and is a devout Baptist. King, a lifelong attorney and businessman, has decided to run for this office. He also served as mayor of the small town of Kemah, Texas for two terms. He is a native Houstonian and has his J.D. from the University of Houston. He has no party affiliation and his focus is on infrastructure and economic growth when it comes to his plans for the future.
These seniors who vote are not only using their rights but also using them for good.
“Elected officials make rules that the rest of us have to live by. Who wins elections actual matters because vote or not [elected officials] are going to make rules we all follow. I think most of us would rather have some influence on those making the rules. It’s the local officials that determine what our roads are like, what our schools are like, what our crime is like, whether we have clean water or clean air. Almost all immediate services are handed down by local government. Even though the turnout is worse for those, it really shouldn’t be because the impact is quite direct.”
–Philip Gensheimer, Economics and Government teacher
While these elections are not presidential, they make a great impact. Senior Kyle Walker went to the polls on November 4 to vote.
“It was very exciting voting for the first time. I did research on each of the candidates and what they were pushing for and that is how I decided who I would vote for. I look forward to being able to vote in the presidential elections being held soon.”
-Kyle Walker, Senior and Voter
Student voters ought to beware of registration deadlines. Voters must register 30 days before the election, even if they are not 18 yet. Several students were turned away from the polls this year because they were not properly registered.