UTPA Student Union hosts voting rallies
Contact: Lori Ann Prado, Intern 381-2741
Posted: 10/31/2008
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Students at The University of Texas-Pan American prepared for this year's presidential and local elections by attending the Register to Vote Rally on Oct. 1 and Rock the Vote Rally on Oct. 28. The events sponsored by the UTPA Student Union were held at the UTPA Chapel Lawn and featured music, free food, voter registration, precinct location information and appearances from local candidates.

Ashley Garces, a freshman majoring in education, and David Garza, a junior majoring in marketing register to vote at the rally at UTPA on Oct. 1.
"I think it is part of your job as a citizen, and so many people have fought for that right, so just in respect for everyone I think you should exercise your right to vote. More people are taking it serious, and it's a big time in our nation's history as far as our economy goes," said David Garza, a 24-year-old junior majoring in marketing.

According to Delma Olivarez, associate director of the Student Union, about 170 students registered to vote at the Student Union since Sept. 29 and University professors and students volunteered to help register voters on campus. Edna Zambrano, director of the Student Union, said that the Register to Vote Rally was intended to remind students to register to vote before Oct. 6 in order to vote on Nov. 4.

Pictured left to right are State Representative Veronica Gonzales, District 41; UTPA Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services Dr. John Edwards; and Justice Dori Contreras Garza, 13th Court of Appeals, at the UTPA Rock the Vote Rally.
"I think it's important that they execute their right to vote, and it's also very important that they get involved in their communities, voting and being active in elections is a good way to do that," Zambrano said.

Candidates whom attended the Rock the Vote rally included Sam Houston for Supreme Court of Texas, Place 7; Justice Dori Contreras Garza, 13th Court of Appeals; State Representative Veronica Gonzales, District 41; Justice Linda YaƱez, Texas Supreme Court, Place 8; Judge Danny Rios, 449th District Court; and representatives for Rick Noriega, U.S. Senate. According to the Hidalgo County Elections Office 49,370 residents have voted early as of Oct. 27, and 2,311 of the votes were placed at the UTPA library.

Student Union Director Edna Zambrano registers Jeanette Gonzalez, a junior majoring in English, and Viviana Sanchez, a sophomore majoring in marketing, to vote at one of the rallies held at UTPA this month to encourage civic engagement.
"I really want everyone to exercise their vote and to try to vote early," Houston said. "I think this is probably, from the presidential down to the bottom, one of the most important elections in all of our lives; I know it is the most important election in my life," Houston said.

Garza said she likes that the UTPA Student Union attracted students to vote and gave her the opportunity to meet with them. She said that as a candidate it is difficult to speak to many people in one setting, and the Rock the Vote Rally gave her that opportunity.

"Always stay informed. Now with the Internet it's so much easier to get information on all the candidates that are running for the different offices, what the different offices are and what they do, so there really is not a real good excuse for not being informed and not participating, and it's just important as a citizen of this country that we participate in this privilege that has been given to us to elect our leaders," Garza said.