Texas Rising emphasizes the importance of voting and political participation


Angie Santos, Assistant News Editos

“Your vote doesn’t matter if you think it doesn’t matter,” Chris Garana, student leader with Texas Rising, said. Voting is a part of the democratic process, yet of all generations, young people are the least likely to vote. Given this lack of participation, Garana explained the importance of voting, especially among university students.

 “It might not seem like the most exciting thing  … but it’s still so crucial to the functioning of our government on all levels,” Garana said.

As an organization, Texas Rising aims to increase voter participation. This includes helping people get registered to vote, educating on topics vital to elections and occasionally endorsing candidates. 

Garana also spoke about the recent obstacles in the voting process that have been discouraging to new or potential voters.

 “Sometimes it’s not an easy process,” Garana said. “The difficulties are there, but there are people that can help.” 

Garana and other members of Texas Rising are working to overcome these challenges. Nevertheless, Garana expressed a firm opinion on the importance of voting and having it as an important part of our society. Garana further commented on the recent changes to voting laws in Texas. 

“I think it’s a response to these patterns in voting. Patterns have increased amongst Black, and Hispanic and Asian Americans in Texas … these voices are becoming, in a way, more heard across the state,” Garana said. “In the wake of the 2020 election, a lot of the laws that have been passed in the state are reactions to that. They’re ways of the current party to lock down their power. They see the future of Texas, where it’s headed and I don’t think they see themselves in that future.”

As a history major, Garana also mentioned historical parallels. 

“They remind me of efforts after reconstruction that led to Jim Crow and unconstitutional attempts to suppress the vote … I think the tightening of those voter restrictions … is generally a response to try and suppress those voices that are trying to be heard that need to be heard,” Garana said. 

Finally, Garana concluded by responding to the infamous question, “My vote doesn’t matter, why should I vote?”

“Your vote doesn’t matter if you think it doesn’t matter. It’s sorta like giving up your voice,” Garana said. 

Garana attributed this lack of participation to people thinking too widely on the federal level with millions of people. Garana further explained how many people fail to realize that local and state elections have a more direct impact on individuals. Many people may be discouraged if the outcome they hoped for fails to follow through in the election. Despite this trend in voting, the members of Texas Rising are moving forward in encouraging students to exercise their constitutional right to vote. 

Step one: Check if you are registered. Visit https://www.texas.gov/living-in-texas/texas-voter-registration/ to check your registration status.

Step two: If you are not registered, that is okay. There are several ways to register. 

In-person: Visit your county’s Voter Registrar office.

By mail: Pick up a voter registration application from your county’s Voter Registrar office, public libraries, government offices or high schools. 

Online: Fill out your voter registration application through our online portal here, then print, sign and mail it to your county’s Voter Registrar office.

Step three: Be ready to show identification while voting in person. There are seven approved forms of photo ID. 

  1. Texas Driver License
  2.  Texas Election Identification Certificate
  3. Texas Personal Identification card
  4. Texas Handgun License
  5. U.S. Military identification card with the person’s photo
  6. U.S. Citizenship Certificate with the person’s photo
  7. U.S. Passport (book or card)

Key dates for this year’s election

  • Deadline to register to vote for primaries – Jan. 31
  • Start of early voting – Feb. 14
  • Texas Primary – March 1
  • Deadline to register to vote – Oct. 4
  • Election Day – Nov. 2

In order to be eligible to vote by mail you must: 

be 65 years or older;

be sick or disabled;

be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or

be expected to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day; or

be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.