Page A2 - Thursday, November 29, 2007
News Contact — Nick Georgiou, email@example.com Texas State University-San Marcos is a member of the Texas State University System
Letter from the editor I don’t think I have ever been happier to see a semester end. We are ﬁnally in the home stretch for ﬁnals and graduation. The latter I’m particularly excited about because I will be receiving my undergraduate degree along with our news editor Nick Georgiou and several other staﬀ members. We will have some new faces at The University Star next semester, which will be an exciting new challenge. I will continue to work for you, the readers, and keeping our community informed. Graduate school called my name (or perhaps it was the opposite), so I will stall the real world for a little while longer as I continue my education here. We have exciting plans in store for spring semester. Earlier this year, The Star server experienced a major crash, which is why we have experienced issues with our Web site and archives. The site received a facelift earlier this semester and will continue to undergo some changes. We hope to have some of our archives back online next semester, but it will be a time-consuming process with an indeﬁnite timeline. Technology is a monster we are attempting to conquer. Speaking of technology, The Star has entered the realm of social networking by starting an account on Twitter. Follow us (universitystar) over the break as we bring 140 word updates to you. I hope you enjoy the Finals issue and see it as a break from the monotony of writing papers and cramming for tests. We have tips for studying, overviews and previews of Texas State athletic teams and even a few extra crossword and sudoku puzzles to keep your brain working. Good luck on ﬁnals exams, graduation and starting new chapters. All of us at The Star would like to wish you a happy holiday. Much love,
Maira Lysette Garcia Editor in Chief
Table of contents News More minorities needed in bone marrow registry A3 Student stress can spoil the holiday spirit A3 Finals time means amphetamine abuse A5 Students attempt to stay fit despite health ranking A5 Internships benefit students, employers, provide experience A7 Study tips to beat finals A7 Opinion Extracurricular education A8 Mentoring benefits children and adults A8 LEGAL GUY: Provisional ballots useful when eligibility issues rise A8
Trends Media relations handle strange news B2 AbsoluteArts networks artists with buyers B2 Lindenwood takes college women from looks to books B3 Study habits vary among students B5 Online tutoring could be less effective B5 Study claims beer better than water B6 Reading between the semesters B7 Searching for pleasure, devotion, balance B7 Sports Women’s club soccer team finishes sixth at Intramural-Recreational championship C4 School pride will make or break us C4 Gym alternatives offer fresh look on fitness C4 Students use Facebook to ‘poke’ out rival teams C5 Stars get new team management C5 Volleyball receives first team rankings in SLC C6 Football ends season C8
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The University Star - Page A3
More minorities needed in bone marrow registry By Lorna Stevens News Reporter While most teenagers wait in anticipation to start their college years, Kathy Soliz-Hernandez suﬀered a cancer relapse just two weeks before entering Texas A&M University. She had been granted the Presidential Scholarship and wanted to eventually enter medical school. Ricardo Soliz, Soliz-Hernandez’ father and assistant principal at Hernandez Elementary, said his daughter has always been a hard-working student with intense drive and motivation who loves nature and life. She was diagnosed with leukemia at 16 after showing ﬂu-like symptoms with bruises covering her body. “I knew in my heart before we took her (to the hospital) that it was leukemia” Soliz said. After Kathy’s ﬁrst relapse, she underwent treatment and entered into remission. She believed leukemia was completely behind her after turning 21-years-old and getting married. Unfortunately, cancer has cycled back and a bone marrow transplant is essential. “She’s very unselﬁsh. I never see her complaining about the cancer being back,” Soliz said. The Soliz’ are one of many families urging individuals to be a bone marrow donor, not only for Soliz-Hernandez, but for everyone diagnosed with this illness. Donors are primarily matched with patients from the same ethnic and racial background, making minorities crucial to the donation registry. Yvonne Ybarra of the National Marrow Donor Program
said minorities consist of only 30 percent of the more than six million registered donors. “There are two reasons why people don’t donate,” Ybarra said. “It’s a lack of awareness and misconception.” One common misconception is people think donors will have work done around the spine. Donation procedures can occur two ways. Contrary to myth, a donor can receive a general anesthetic and liquid marrow is withdrawn from the pelvic bone. Alternatively, donors can participate in a peripheral blood stem cell donation, which is an outpatient procedure using a machine to separate the cells from the blood. Ybarra said both methods are safe for the donor. More than 98.5 percent of donors completely recover after a couple weeks, according to the National Marrow Donor program. Through the Blood and Tissue Center of San Antonio, various San Marcos school locations have hosted donation drives to increase awareness within the community and to register potential donors. “The community has come to what I call collective consciousness,” Soliz said. “To me, that is when everyone makes a conscience decision to make a diﬀerence.” Individuals can register by ﬁlling out a consent form and providing cheek-
cells from a mouth swab to test for tissue typing. “It feels fantastic contributing to the registry,” said Charles Duke, philosophy freshman. People remain on the registry until their 61st birthday. Once a match is found within the registry, the individual will be contacted and further testing will be at no cost to the donor.
“After registration, there’s a high decline rate,” Ybarra said. “The hardest challenge is getting people to say yes.” The Soliz family has been proactive in sending their message to the public and placing focus on the Hispanic community. They hope people will reach out and help. “It takes one to save one,” Soliz said. “I truly hope (people) listen.”
Student stress can spoil the holiday spirit By Stephanie Kusy-Wilson News Reporter Many people are coping with some sort of loss during the winter break. The need to grieve versus the pressure to get into the holiday spirit can prevent some students from making the most of their time away from class. But learning to manage stress can help students enjoy the break. Mark Mayﬁeld, applied sociology sophomore, said bad grades from the fall semester caused him anxiety in the past and disappointed his parents during the Thanksgiving break. “School is really stressful,” Mayﬁeld said. “It’s fast-paced, and it’s always on your mind.” To help clear his thoughts, Mayﬁeld said he tries to talk about his problems with his family or take a short vacation.
Judy Row, Alcohol and Drug Resource Center director, said many students visit the Counseling Center right before school ends because they are stressed about their grades. Row said stress often leads to depression. She recommends students eat a balanced diet, get at least eight hours of sleep, exercise and stay away from alcohol and drugs. She said students often have unrealistic expectations of what the holidays should be and then feel disappointed afterwards. She said many return home after their ﬁrst semester of college to ﬁnd their rooms are diﬀerent or their friends from high school have changed. Matt Daubert, accounting sophomore, said some of his friends had gone in diﬀerent directions after their ﬁrst semester of college. Daubert said he had to choose whom to celebrate Christmas with as well because his parents are divorced.
“The surroundings were diﬀerent,” Daubert said. “It was happy, but at the same time bittersweet.” Row said, for some, home is not always the best place to be for the holidays. She said it is hard for students to follow their parents’ rules again and to deal with social and ﬁnancial pressures. Row said students should think about what they can and cannot do while living at home. For students who have lost a loved one, the holidays can magnify feelings of grief. Row said when somebody has lost a loved one, any important days can trigger painful memories. “There is a hole in the event because the person is no longer there,” Row said. According to the Psych Central Web site, it is important to share feelings and not to keep them bottled up. Memories
should be embraced, and life should be celebrated, the Web site states. If students ﬁnd school or the holidays are triggering stress and depression, the Counseling Center encourages students to stop by their oﬃce and to schedule an appointment to speak to someone.
✯FYI The Counseling Center office is located the LBJ Student Center 5-4.1. Students can make an initial consultation appointment by stopping by the office or calling 245-2208. Students are encouraged to call early for same day appointments.
Get news updates over the break — subscribe to The University Star on Twitter.
Page A4 - The University Star
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Finals time means amphetamine abuse By Katie Carmichael News Reporter The holiday season is fast approaching, and for many it is a time of family, friends and merriment. But for college students nationwide, it means one thing — ﬁnals. Recent trends show an increasing amount of students are turning to prescription stimulants, such as Adderall and Ritalin, to help them study and attain higher test scores without weighing the legal and medical consequences. Julie Eckert, Alcohol and Drug Resource Center peer education coordinator, acknowledged students are using stimulants — more particularly controlled substances not prescribed to them — especially during ﬁnals season. She warned of the dangers associated with the abuse of prescription drugs. “They may use it thinking, ‘I want to get the better grade,’ for whatever reason,” Eckert said. “They may use it more often, or a lot of people use it just during ﬁnals. But either way, you’re running the risk of an addiction or having the same side eﬀects of an illicit stimulant, because it will act as a stimulant if it’s not yours — just like speed (or) just like cocaine.” One of the most commonly abused prescription drugs is Adderall, a combination of the stimulants amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which is used to treat patients with attention deﬁcit hyperactivity disorder. The Food and Drug Administration lists common side eﬀects as loss of appetite, dry mouth, upset stomach, depression, dizziness, headache, rapid heart rate, anxiety and insomnia. More serious long-term risks include seizures, loss of eyesight or blurred vision, stunted growth, stroke and heart attack. In adults, other side eﬀects can range from sudden death to development of psychotic or manic symptoms. Eckert said many students are unaware of the complications caused by taking non-prescribed medication.
“There’s a low perception of harm because it’s a prescription drug, and (if) it’s prescribed to someone, it can’t be as harmful, but it’s not prescribed to you,” Eckert said. “People it’s prescribed to have a particular brain chemistry where it works for them and it’s not harmful, it’s helpful. Someone who’s taking it, and it is not their prescription, you run the risks that you would using any other stimulant.” According to the FDA, more than 25 sudden deaths, strokes or heart attacks were caused by prescription drugs in 2005, and the Drug Abuse Warning Network reported an estimated 7,873 emergency department visits in 2006 involving medications used to treat ADHD. The network cited those between the ages of 18 and 25 as having a higher rate of non-medical use than any other age group. Furthermore, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse released a study in March showing a 93 percent increase in the proportion of college students nationwide abusing stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall. Students who choose to seek aid in pill form are not only gambling with their health, they could face severe legal repercussion. “If it’s not their prescription they have, and they are using someone else’s prescription, then based on the Health and Safety Code, they can go to jail and end up having to serve a sentence if they are found guilty,” said Sgt. Brian Carpenter of the University Police Department. Amphetamines are listed as a Schedule II controlled substance in Texas. The buying, selling or possession of such substances is punishable by a ﬁne and/or jail. Students could be subject to additional consequences enforced by the university, which considers the issue a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, and could include drug intervention, deferred suspension or possibly expulsion, depending on the circumstances. The most common providers of these drugs
are peers, family members or friends who have a prescription. The Society for the Study of Addiction reported 90 percent of users said they got the medication from a friend. Sarah Smith, fashion merchandising junior, has been prescribed Adderall for the last two years and admits being frequently solicited for her medicine. “People who know I am prescribed (Adderall) will sometimes ask me for one to help them study for tests,” Smith said. “Especially around ﬁnals, it’s not uncommon for people to try to buy or try to borrow some so they can stay up and study all night. Everyone is stressed, and they look at it as an easy way to deal with the overwhelming amount of studying they have to do in a short period of time.” The increased accessibility stems from several factors including the rise ing the number of adults prescribed the medications. The FDA reports approximately one million adults are prescribed medication for ADHD each month. Eckert blamed advancements in technology for the increasing availability. “It’s accessible because people sell it, or then get it from their roommate or a friend or a family member. Or if they’re savvy enough, they can get it oﬀ the Internet,” Eckert said. “There are Myspace and Facebook and places like that that they can even ﬁnd a resource fairly easily. So the accessibility of it, I think, made it easier through other technologies.” According to the 2006 Texas State University CORE Alcohol and Drug Survey, only 4.2 percent of Texas State students surveyed said they had used amphetamines in the past 30 days and approximately 20 percent reported using Ritalin, Adderall or any other stimulant medication in ways not prescribed by a physician. Eckert and Carpenter both said amphetamine use it not a major issue on campus. The most prominent concern is not with the number of students abusing the drugs, but in the serious risks they are taking when using them.
The University Star - Page A5
Students attempt to stay fit despite health ranking
By Jeﬀ Turner News Reporter Thanksgiving week may have posed a ﬁtness challenge for Texas State students, faculty and staﬀ as they enjoyed plates of turkey, gravy, stuﬃng and pie. Texas is home to a wide variety of foods and a great number of people who will heroically wolf down every last morsel of whatever is on their plate. Barbecue, enchiladas and sausage are some of the foods most synonymous with lone-star cooking and contribute to the state’s poor health ranking. The United Health Foundation, a non-proﬁt private organization, recently released its state-by-state health rankings for 2007. Texas placed 37th on the list of overall health rankings for states in the U.S., holding its same spot from last year. Vermont ranked No. 1 in quality of health and Mississippi took Louisiana’s spot at 50th for least healthy state. Some of the health factors considered when ranking the states are percentages of cardiovascular deaths, premature death rates and infant mortality rates. Texas State students will have more assistance in staying ﬁt and healthy once the construction of the Student Recreation Center expansion is completed. However, some students are already getting their cardiovascular workouts by traversing the hills on campus. “Just going up the stairs is enough for me,” said Angela Fira, chemistry freshman. “I usually don’t go to the (recreation center) because of the hills and everything.” While eating a Chartwell’s ice cream cone, Fira said she makes sure to eat a salad every day. Mary Bell, electronic media senior, considers herself healthy. “I think I’m very healthy,” Bell said. “I eat a lot of vegetables. I try to eat really low-fat, high-protein or high-ﬁber foods. I try to work out every day and get 30 minutes of activity even if I can’t go to the gym. I try to do at least 20 minutes of cardio a day.”
✯ FYI Student Recreation Center Holiday Hours Dec. 3 to 6: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. Dec. 7: 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. Dec. 8 to 9: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Dec. 10 to 11: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. Dec. 12 to 13: 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. Dec. 14: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. Dec. 15 to 31: closed
Page A6 - The University Star
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Internships beneﬁt students, employers, provide experience By Bill Lancaster News Reporter Internships oﬀer employment opportunities and career advantages to students who seek an edge in competitive job markets. They are available through a number of resources on and oﬀ campus. Karen Julian, Career Services assistant director, said many employers expect students to have an internship experience before graduating. Internships give students an improved marketability and conﬁrm they are a good ﬁt for their certain industry. “There are a lot of supplemental beneﬁts as well to putting what you learn in a classroom to practice,” Julian said. “For example, improving a skill set or learning a skill set that maybe a student is weak in or lacks that they would need to gain to be more successful in that industry.” Judy Dietert, department of management intern coordinator and senior lecturer, said the ﬁrst step to ﬁnding a good internship is for students to know themselves, to understand their areas of strength and those areas where they need improvement. “Research the companies that you’re considering interning with and get a good understanding of their culture and the environment that you’ll be working in — have the knowledge of the industry,” Dietert said. The search process would include registering with Career Services, searching company Web sites and contacting the intern coordinator, Dietert said. Attending the Career Services’ job fair is another way of meeting a large number of employers and recruiters. Kandis Dugat, applied sociology senior and Career Services intern, said learning about the work environment has been the greatest beneﬁt because prior to her internship, she had only been employed in retail sales. “It’s given me a lot conﬁdence in my skills and a lot of conﬁdence in making the transition from college life into a work environment,” Dugat said. “I think the biggest challenge I had at ﬁrst was getting to know everybody and getting to know how everything operates around here, but once I got the hang of it, it’s been running pretty smoothly.” Internships allow students to explore future possibilities and they get a real jump on their career path, said Mark Carter, department of geography
intern coordinator and senior lecturer. “The employers get a chance to identify really high-quality future employees by hiring the students as interns, and in some cases, they end up hiring them as full-time employees,” Carter said. “It gives employers an opportunity to check the students out, and the students get a chance to check out the employers.” Julian said internships are split about half and half between paid and unpaid positions. “They are typically paid at an hourly wage,” she said. “Students may be making roughly $6.50 or $7 on the low end and upwards of $15 to $20 an hour. It depends on the major and it depends on the industry.” Dugat said the employer beneﬁts by getting free labor if the internship is unpaid. “With an intern, they get someone who is really enthusiastic about learning their position, and they get someone willing to do the work that they have set aside to do,” said Dugat, whose internship is unpaid. Carter said the department has between 20 to 25 students in internships during a regular semester and about 30 interns during the summer. He said almost all of the internships available through the department are paid because the students have good skills and deserve compensation. “I generally do not recommend students perform unpaid internships because the exchange of money actually adds another level of accountability,” Carter said. “People who are just going to work for free — and employers know that they are working there for free — we lose a level of accountability.” Julian said students should consider internship scheduling and costs. The changes in the university’s class schedule have made it harder for students to ﬁt classes and an internship into a week. The increase in gas prices has put an additional burden on those who need to drive to San Antonio or Austin. “For many students, this is the ﬁrst opportunity they have had to work in a professional environment, maybe the ﬁrst opportunity they have had to be somewhere at 8 o’clock every morning — they may have a challenge ﬁghting the traﬃc,” Dietert said. “They may have numerous challenges, but the main thing is getting used to the professional environment.”
Study tips to beat finals By Cassandra Goldsberry News Reporter Budgeting time, not abusing substances, avoiding procrastination, eating a good breakfast and not being afraid to ask for help are all habits of a good studier, say tutors at the Student Learning Assistance Center. “The most stressful thing about studying for ﬁnals is staying concentrated,” said Bailey Gosda, accounting junior. “I have a hard time staying on task because at home there are a lot of distractions. I come to the library, and it’s packed, so it is even harder to concentrate.” Carol Dochen, Student Assistance Learning Center director, oﬀered advice and tips for students dealing with the stress of ﬁnals. “Sleep deprivation and poor eating habits do not help your body handle stress, so avoid all-nighters and eating too much out of the vending machines,” Dochen said. “The best defense is a good oﬀense, so begin preparing early and to the best of your ability.” Waiting until the last minute to start studying for a ﬁnal is one of the worst things a student can do, said Reginald Reid, business administration graduate student. “Attempting to cram a semester’s worth of information into an all day (or) night study session is a big mistake,” Reid said. “To prepare for ﬁnals, students should spend an entire week. The ﬁrst ﬁve days should be very intense, while the last two remaining days should be for reviewing purposes only.” Dochen said it is important for students to budget their time and organize a calendar.
“Because a student is likely to have more than one test in a single day, it’s especially important to study early,” she said. “Find a productive study environment, and eliminate distractions like a cell phone and TV. Also, studying regularly for brief periods of time will help make the process less painful and stressful.” Lisa Tomecek, English senior and Writing Center tutor, said studying with friends could be helpful. But she said to make sure the friends do no turn into distractions. “Make it all about business — if you go oﬀ topic, you will get distracted and never get back to studying,” Tomecek said. “Turn oﬀ cell phones and instant messenger, and stay oﬀ Myspace and Facebook. They can wait a couple of hours while you study.” Tomecek said preparing for essay tests could be the most diﬃcult. “Some professors will give prompts. In a case like that, write an outline,” said Amy Jordan, social work-director practice graduate and Writing Center tutor. “It prepares you better, (and) remember — organization is important.”
✯ FYI SLAC Lab Hours: Monday - Wednesday: 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Thursday: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Friday: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Saturday: closed Sunday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
strong the university star
The University Star - Page A7
OPINIONS THE UNIVERSITY STAR
onlineconnection Check out www.UniversityStar.com in the following weeks for continued News, Sports, Trends and Opinions coverage.
Page A8 - Thursday, November 29, 2007
Opinions Contact — Meagan Singletary, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MAIN POINT
ith the end of another semester upon us, ﬁnal exams are looming.
They are one of life’s nasty little eventualities, and try as we might, we can’t escape them. Unfortunately, we can’t escape the pressure and stress that come along with them. You work so hard all semester, and it seems as if all of your work comes down to that one, stupid test. Concentrating solely on one aspect of a class isn’t necessarily the best way to go about learning. It is possible to learn a lot in a course without making an ‘A’. It’s silly to think college is a waste just because you don’t leave with a 4.0. Hopefully, we have realized college isn’t exclusively about what you learn in the classroom. The experiences you gain from simply being here are just as important. Telling you not to stress out about ﬁnal exams is pointless. You’re going to do it anyway. It’s human nature to worry about things like this. What you should try to do is step back and take a look at the bigger picture. Look somewhere down the road, 20 years from now. Do you really believe the things you will remember most are what grades you made on your ﬁnals or whether or not you made an ‘A’ in a class? This is doubtful. What you are most likely to remember are the people you met and the experiences you shared. Chances are you won’t remember how long you stayed up studying for your chemistry exam. You probably won’t want to relive that unpleasantness anyway, but you may recall the periodic table or the principles you learned later down the road. The things happening outside of the classroom are more likely to shape your life than those that happened inside. This is not to say you shouldn’t study and do the best you can in school. In order to be a successful individual, you will need to prove to future employers you are competent and willing to work hard. However, impressing them with your good grades isn’t the only way to do it. If you show you are knowledgeable about your ﬁeld and willing to continue learning, they probably won’t care you didn’t make straight ‘A’s’ in college. Just because you didn’t do well in a course doesn’t mean you didn’t learn something that will beneﬁt you in the future. The moral of this little story should be fairly obvious — don’t take ﬁnals or grades in general too seriously. You can learn so much from the college experience, and it doesn’t all have to be academic. Even if you don’t do as well in a class as you would have liked, it was still time well spent. When stressing and cramming for those ﬁnals, remember — all you can ever do in life is your best. If you could honestly say you tried your absolute hardest, then you will never fail at anything.
The Main Point is the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. Columns are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reﬂect the opinions of the full staff, Texas State University-San Marcos Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State UniversitySan Marcos.
Lucas Ross/Star Illustration
Mentoring benefits children and adults
SABRINA JENNINGS Star Columnist
Some of my favorite days are spent going to the park and a bookstore with my 5-year-old niece. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been to the park or sat looking at books together; to her every outing is exciting and fun. I don’t know which one of us loves it more, her or me. We can spend an afternoon having a picnic and playing on the playground, followed by an hour reading “Cat in the Hat” and Dora the Explorer books. Big Brothers Big Sisters (www.bbbscentraltx.org) has recently come to Texas State, and there are now opportunities to mentor children in the San Marcos area. Mentoring may sound time consuming, but spending just an hour every week with a child can have an enormous impact. You may think you aren’t the type of person to be a mentor, but it doesn’t take any special talents — just a willingness to spend quality time with a child having fun. Mentoring children can have so many powerful, positive effects on their lives. It gives them a positive role model to look up to and someone they can talk to. Even young children need someone to talk to. Sometimes when I pick up my niece from daycare, she’ll pour out to me everything that happened to her: how her friend told her they weren’t friends anymore. It can seem like trivial stuﬀ, but to her it’s the world. When she has problems with her friends, I’ll talk with her and help her discover ways to solve those problems and do so with kindness. These are lessons that will go far beyond the kindergarten playground when taught by someone she looks up to. Spending time with children can be meaningful and beneﬁcial to mentors as well. During some hard times, my niece has been one of the things that never fails to cheer me up. When I was in the hospital after getting my appendix removed, her visit brightened my day as she walked around the hallways with me. Being with her reminds me of the good things in life. Between her and her older sister, Alex, I’ve gained valuable experience I know will help me when I have children of my own. Being a part of a child’s life is such a huge blessing and responsibility. As an aunt, I have the opportunity to help shape the lives of my nieces. I’ve learned from Alex, my 15-year-old niece, ways to set boundaries with a teenager, and that’s not easy. After some trial and error, however, I have found ways and now she listens to me. She knows I have high expectations for her, and I think it helps her have higher expectations for herself. For example, last year she hated math and thought she was horrible at it. After I gave her a little help and showed conﬁdence in her, she’s doing great in math this year. Even though I’m not a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters, I love being a mentor to my nieces. I encourage anyone who needs a break from studying to take that time and go spend an hour being a mentor.
LEGAL GUY: Provisional ballots useful when eligibility issues rise Since the closto find the area of law ing of the polls dealing with elections. two weeks ago, It turns out Chapter questions have 81 of Part 4 of Title surrounded the 1 of the Texas Adelection process. ministrative Code is Provisional ballots the home of enough and people getting elections codes to be turned away from called “elections.” polling locations Chapter 81 of the CARSON GUY code covers everything and have risen to Star Columnist the forefront of about elections from voter discussions about elections. registration to electronic storProvisional ballots are of parage medium standards used ticular interest. for votes. In order to know where Regulations regarding provisional ballots are located provisional ballots are found in the election code, we have in Subchapter 1 of Chapter
81. It is within that subchapter we find the answer to what a provisional ballot is exactly. A provisional ballot is a temporary vote used by election officials until some aspect of a person’s eligibility as a voter can be cleared. Specifically, the law mentions eight possible reasons someone would qualify to cast a provisional vote. The first type of voter who is eligible is “a voter who claims to be properly registered and eligible to vote at the election precinct, but whose name does not appear on the
list of registered voters and whose registration cannot be determined by the Voter Registrar.” They are determined as follows: first-time voters without identification; voters who requested a mail-in ballot but have not returned it yet; voters who vote when the polls have been extended by a state or federal court; a voter registered to vote, but who is attempting to vote in a precinct different than the one they are registered in; a voter unable to produce identification; a voter appearing on the eligible list but whose
residence is located outside the political subdivision; and a voter who voted in another party’s primary. Those are all examples of potential voters who, according to the law, have the right to cast a provisional ballot. However, before anyone is able to cast a provisional ballot, the voter must sign the “Provisional Ballot Aﬃdavit Envelope.” The envelope, when ﬁnished, will include all of the necessary information to register a voter in case they are not registered, in addition to stating the voter is “a registered
voter in the political subdivision and a resident on election day and that he is eligible to vote in the election.” Finally, the provisional ballot will not count unless the voter signs the envelope. There are a number of issues that have been raised in regards to the recent San Marcos City Council elections, and provisional ballots are only one of the questions. However, knowing what provisional ballots are and when they should be used ought to help voters be more informed and make sure their votes counts.