Nacogdoches County Commissioners held a vote on Tuesday morning to decide on additional polling places, including on a location on campus. The vote passed unanimously.
Starting on October 13, voting will take place on the third floor of the Baker Pattillo Student Center in the Commons Room. This location will be open on weekdays only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until October 30.
“We are so grateful to the commissioners court for approving an early voting location on SFA’s campus," Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Adam Peck said. "It provides a convenient place for faculty and staff to exercise their right to vote and promotes civic engagement among our students.”
Todd Stallings, Nacogdoches County Elections Administrator, said students who want to vote on campus need to make sure to register to vote in Nacogdoches County.
“The most important thing I can tell you is that if students wish to vote at the SFA location then they must register to vote with a residential address here in Nacogdoches County,” Stallings said. “Dr. Peck can give you more details about how students can come by his offices to get registered to vote. It's not enough that a student is registered to vote somewhere in Texas, a student actually needs to register with an address in Nacogdoches County by October 5 in order to vote at the SFA location.”
However, Stallings also said students not registered in Nacogdoches County will have the opportunity to vote early at the Courthouse Annex.
“During Early Voting only, we do have some options only at the Courthouse Annex for students who are registered to vote somewhere in Texas other than Nacogdoches County; but in order to vote at SFA, a student needs to get registered to vote with a Nacogdoches County address by October 5.” Stalling said.
To vote on Election Day, voting must take place in the county a student is registered in.
The decision to include the University in voting locations came from increased efforts to be socially distant for voting in person.
“Nacogdoches County received $55,000 as part of the federal funding this year to help with fighting COVID-19 during voting,” Stallings said. “The County has decided to use some of these funds to offer multiple Early Voting locations this time to help with social distancing. SFA was selected because there are a considerable amount of students who vote in our major elections, and also because there is a significant number of faculty and staff who may choose to vote at the SFA location. Any registered voter in Nacogdoches County may vote at the SFA location during Early Voting.”
Gabi Harris, senior political science major from McKinney and president emeritus for SFA College Democrats and Texas College Democrats, said she wants to dismiss the idea that students do not vote.
“Having a polling place on our campus is long overdue – but nonetheless, I am excited our commissioners court led on the issue with students and accessibility in mind,” Harris said. “A couple of semesters ago, we were told that students didn’t vote; and for this reason, a polling place would not be on our campus. We knew we had to prove them wrong. In 2018, we increased voter registration in our precincts by over 25% and had a record turnout on the first day of early voting with over 600 students casting their ballots at Grace Bible Church, walking distance from campus.”
Joshua Reid, a senior criminal justice major from Houston and the president of the College Republicans, held the same sentiment.
“We love the idea of making sure students have a safe and easy way to participate in this upcoming election,” Reid said. “We encourage all students to cast their vote. A well educated and participating electorate is essential to preserving our great country.”
For more information and voting schedules, go to www.NacVotes.com.