MOVE encourages youth participation in city elections

By Reana Renee Chavez 
Pulse staff reporter

RChavez
Members of MOVE visit the polls. Courtesy photo of MOVE SA.

San Antonio city elections are on May 6, and citizens will vote for a new mayor, 10 city council members and a variety of bonds. The City of San Antonio conducts its general election every odd year in May.

Some local news outlets described the 2015 voter turnout as “embarrassingly low.” Many would like to blame millennials—those born between the early 1980s through the late 1990s–for low turnout.

This year, early voting took place April 24 through May 2, and 46 percent of voters who went to the polls were age 65 and over and only 7 percent were under 35 years of age.

“In 2013, the turnout was 6.5 percent–and in 2015 it doubled to 12.6 percent,” said Drew Galloway, executive director for MOVE SA. “I’m hoping we’re going to see another big jump in turnout. I would love to see a 20 percent turnout.”

MOVE San Antonio helps the younger crowd—and anyone new to voting—get involved in local and general elections. MOVE SA focuses primarily on local elections. Members of the organization want to show those who aren’t committed to voting why voting for mayor and city council members is important.

“The appealing thing about voting is being able to agree or disagree on something,” said Karen Gonzalez, a sophomore Early Childhood Education major. “The unappealing thing about voting is that not many people in my community really seem interested in voting, making it seem less important.”

Galloway said, “We advocate to issues that are important to young people.”

MOVE helps with a lot of the problems that young people have but don’t want to voice their opinion on, such as student IDs being used for voting IDs and public transportation. MOVE SA knows that Bexar County has a large Latino and Spanish-speaking community; one thing they are fighting for is to get voter registration cards printed in Spanish as well as English.

“A way to get me into voting would to be provided with more information on how it works and the people [who are] running,” said Gonzalez.

Currently 14 candidates are running for mayor of San Antonio, including current Mayor Ivy R. Taylor, Councilman Ron Nirenberg and Democratic Party Chairman Manuel Medina. All ten seats for City Council are up for grabs, as well. Each district will be searching for a new City Council member to best support them. The San Antonio elections also include an $850-million proposed bond program for six propositions funding street, bridges and sidewalk upgrades and improvement of public safety facilities.

Proposals and candidates running for mayor and city council can all be found on the Voting App, which you can download onto your smartphone. This also brings attention to people, like students, who are always on the go but still want to help out in the community by doing their part in the general election.

The Alamo Community College District is also making an appearance on the ballot this year for a $450-million general bond. The Alamo College district board of trustees ordered this election for the voters of Bexar County. What this bond will do-and what it means for the Alamo Colleges-is use its proceeds to build new and renovate existing facilities. The construction will also include new “centers of excellence” to address Alamo Colleges’ community educational priorities.

For additional information on MOVE SA and what they do, visit their offices located on 110 E. Houston on the seventh floor, or contact the MOVE team at movesanantonio.org.

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