First-time Privilege

Teens flock to voting locations to make voice heard


Shanie Spinler

Senior Jadenne Mayville holds up a poster to encourage students to register to vote.

The controversial 2022 Texas mid-term elections are right around the corner, and for some seniors, this will be the first year they can vote. Before they can though, they must register. 

The Do Something Club, which focuses on youth activism and changing the community, ran a voter registration drive in the commons during all lunches on Oct. 6 to target first-time voters. At this drive, they had voter registrars to help students fill out and submit the forms so students can get their voter cards in the mail in time to vote. 

“Everyone must fill out a voter registration application and submit it to the county Elections Administrator’s office. You only have to register to vote once, unless you move,” Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrar Eve Meyers said. “If you move to a new address within the same county where you are registered to vote, you can go online to update your voter registration for your new address. If you move to a new county, you will need to fill out a new application to register to vote in that county.”

If someone meets these requirements and wants to register there are ways to outside of school. 

“In Texas, you cannot register online,” Meyers said. “However, you can fill out and print an online form, and then mail it in. The form may be found on the Texas Secretary of State website. You can also pick up a mail-in voter registration form at many post offices or libraries. Additionally, a Deputy Voter Registrar who is trained and certified by a county elections administrator’s office can also register you to vote in person.”

Your vote is your voice. If you care about your future, your vote is the best way to express your opinion.

— Eve Meyers

Although the voting process can be a simple one, other guidelines must be followed. 

“In order to vote, you will need an approved picture ID. Note that school IDs are not approved for voter registration. You must have a Texas Driver’s License, TX State ID card, US Citizenship certificate, military ID, or passport. If you do not have any of those, you may still vote but you will have to fill out a form stating that you do not have a picture ID,”  Meyers said.

But the act of voting is only a positive one if research on the candidates and issues have been completed. 

“Before you vote, research so you really know what candidate aligns with your beliefs the most,” Do Something Club Co-President Ana Mascarenhas said.

Several resources are available to make the voting selection process easier.  

“One of the best resources is the free nonpartisan League of Women Voter’s Guide,” Meyers said. “They have a link to a website where you can put in your address and you will get a customized ballot. You can click on each candidate and you will learn about them in their own words, from answers to questions that are the same for each candidate. You can even print out your selections and take them with you when you vote with a sample ballot.” 

Experts suggest voters know who and what they are voting for in this election. 

“2022 is a very important election. Every statewide and many county offices are up for election, along with our US Congress representatives,” Meyers said. “The Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Land Commissioner, State Board of Education, all the state legislators (House and Senate), Texas Supreme Court Justices and many state and local judges as well as county offices such as the County Judge and all the County Commissioners, are all up for election.”

Voices of younger generations are not yet represented in the government, so students voting for the first time could bring new life to the traditional process. 

“Your vote is your voice,” Meyers said. “If you care about your future, your vote is the best way to express your opinion.” 

“Older people turn out to vote at a higher rate than younger people, and that’s why they have more voting power,” Meyers said. “What might change if more younger people turn out to vote?”

Some people think their one vote doesn’t matter however their voice is shown through the actions of these officials. 

“Laws made by elected officials govern our lives and choices at the local, county, state, and national levels. Those elected officials have power because they were voted into office. Judges’ decisions determine how laws are applied. Judges were also voted into office. If you have ever wondered WHY a decision or law is made, or WHY it is applied the way it is, it’s a direct result of voters choosing certain elected officials.”

Election Day is Nov. 8, but there are ways to vote beforehand. Fortunately, in Harris County, you can vote at any voting location. 

“The best way to vote is during early voting which starts Oct. 24,” Meyers said. “There are fewer lines and it’s much quicker. Don’t wait until election day unless you like waiting in line!”

People can find their polling locations online and additional resources as well as some for first-time voters.