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Volume 72, Issue 63, Thursdsay, November 16, 2006

News

Campus polling location was quiet

by SYRIA BOYD
The Daily Cougar

Nationwide voting may have been up, but poll officials for Harris County Precinct 389 were a little lonely last week.

According to location officials, few students seemed aware of the precinct or voting opportunity in the University Center, the polling place for the precinct encompassing UH and the surrounding neighborhood. 

Student Information and Assistance Center supervisor Jason Richard said about 20-25 people asked about the polling location in the UC. 

"Most of them seemed to be people in the neighborhood; there didn't seem to be many students asking about voting," Richard said.

Of the 898 registered voters in Precinct 389, 111, or 12.4 percent, cast their votes in the 2006 election, according to Harris County Clerk records. 

Residents in on-campus apartments can register to vote in the University's precinct, officials said.

Among students who voted was economics senior Jason Browning. Browning said the UC polling location was relatively busy when he arrived at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7, and he waited approximately 30 minutes to vote.

"The poll workers didn't seem to know too much what they were doing ... they were giving people their tickets (to vote) based on the honor system. If someone wasn't honest they could have voted twice," Browning said.

Among non-voters was computer science senior Daniel Hoffman. Hoffman said he voted in the recent presidential elections, but he did not find any inspiring candidates in this gubernatorial election.

"Kinky Friedman kept talking about all of these strange ideas that none of the legislators would support. He seemed to be all showman to me," Hoffman said.

Hoffman was unaware there was a polling location at UH, and said he would have been more likely to vote had he known.

Hoffman added that he did not vote because he was uninformed about major issues.

The responsibility to inform voters about voting information and topics falls to local elected officials called precinct chairs, said Mandy Day, the Republican Party chair for Precinct 323 in Harris County.

"The precinct is the smallest political unit there is (in the political process) their job is to educate voters for each election cycle. They would also be the election judge for the precinct if (their party represents) the majority of the persons in that precinct," she said.

If the majority of the voters in a precinct vote Republican, the Republican precinct chair will be the election judge. 

The precinct chair position for the Republican Party in the UH precinct is currently vacant. The Democratic precinct chair, Colta Gillespie, was unavailable for comment.

Qualifications for being precinct chair for the Republican Party are residence in the voting precinct, current voter registration in the precinct and a solid record of voting in Republican primaries. 

Individuals interested in being candidates can download the application for the precinct chair on the Republican Party of Harris County Web site at www.harriscountygop.com or can call the party offices at (713) 838-7900.

The Democratic Party of Harris County can be contacted at (713) 802-0085 or through its Web site at www.hcdp.org.

Send comments to dcnews@mail.uh.edu

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