EDINBURG – As part of Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD’s (PSJA) continuing efforts to promote the importance of registering to vote, social studies teachers gathered seniors and parents for the district’s annual PSJA National Voter Registration Day event held Tuesday, Sept. 25 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.
During the event, students and parents heard from local elected officials and their own campus Student Council Presidents about the importance of registering to vote and exercising their right to vote every election. The event was part of the Project VOTE (Voters of Tomorrow through Education) and the Texas Education Code, which helps teach students about citizenship and understanding the difference between personal and civic responsibilities. As part of their Government class they should also learn about the responsibilities, duties and obligations of citizenship such as being well informed about civic affairs, serving in the military, voting, serving on a jury, observing the laws, paying taxes, serving the public good and understanding the voter registration process and criteria for voting in elections.
“To every student here, your voice matters! Every one of you counts,” said Texas State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. “You can shape your future, you can ensure your issues are not overlooked. Be the difference that makes the difference in our region, state, and country.”
Student Council (STUCO) Presidents from all five PSJA ISD high schools also spoke about different topics relating to the importance of voting including the power of social media in today’s elections, the importance of Hispanic/Latino voter turnout, and even the need to mobilize Generation Z to vote.
For Jeblanc Villarreal, Student Council President at PSJA North ECHS it is important to register and vote, "Your vote is your voice," he said.
Special guests during the event included PSJA ISD School Board Secretary-Treasurer Jesus “Jesse” Vela, Jr.; PSJA School Board Member Victor Perez; PSJA Superintendent Dr. Daniel P. King; Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon; Texas State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.; Texas State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa; State Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez; Hidalgo County Court at Law Judge Albert Garcia; Equal Voice Network’s Ramona Casas; and the Director of the Student Voting Initiative Amanda Salas.
Alongside the student body, more than 80 parents from the district's Parent Centers attended to listen to this important information in partnership with The Equal Voice for America's Families Network and The Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas or AACT Now.
At PSJA ISD, these efforts are tied to the district's annual PSJA VOTES campaign, which through the years has successfully helped increase the number of registered voters within the school district and across the region. The goal of today's event was to expand their knowledge of their civic duties, the voter registration process and criteria for voting in elections. In addition to listening to speakers, students had the chance to get familiarized with voting machines, and will have the opportunity to register to vote at their schools throughout this week.
The deadline to register or update voter registration information is Oct. 9, 2018, for the November 6, 2018 election. For any questions regarding registration and voting, individuals may visit http://www.votetexas.gov/ or http://aactnow.org.