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The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students learn power of voting

NE+government+assistant+professor+Joan+Johnson+speaks+to+students+during+Does+My+Vote+Count%3F+Oct.+20.%0A%0ALeo+Anderson%2FThe+Collegian
NE government assistant professor Joan Johnson speaks to students during Does My Vote Count? Oct. 20. Leo Anderson/The Collegian

By Macy Feemster/ reporter

NE government assistant professor Joan Johnson speaks to students during Does My Vote Count? Oct. 20. Leo Anderson/The Collegian
NE government assistant professor Joan Johnson speaks to students during Does My Vote Count? Oct. 20.
Leo Anderson/The Collegian

Students discovered how much their vote really matters Oct. 20 in a seminar led by Joan Johnson, NE assistant professor and chair of government and paralegal studies.

Speech instructor A’Isha Malone said this was the third speech of the Myth Busters series, where students hear common myths and then factual information that “bust” them.

In this presentation, Johnson expressed how important it is to vote and reflected on history and why it’s important to vote in local elections, not just for president.

“I don’t have political power, so what impact do I have?” is one myth Johnson discussed. She said everyone has an impact in society and politics.

When people ask her how to get involved, Johnson says obviously to vote but also to speak out.

“Even if you don’t have political power, use your voice, talk to one another,” Johnson said.

Johnson showed a video interview that took place at Texas Tech University to show how students are politically challenged and how students at TCC need to get more involved. The students were selected at random to answer basic history questions: Who won the Civil War? Who did we gain independence from? Who is the vice president?

None of the students in the video could answer the basic history questions, but all of them answered within a second when asked who was Brad Pitt’s first wife and what show is Snookie on?

“Be informed and talk about it. It’s one of the most important things you can do,” Johnson said after playing the video.

One NE student said she enjoyed the presentation.

“Learning the history is really powerful to know,” Ellie Skillrud said. “Just knowing some of the realities and the history of voting and how all of the countries voted is something people need to know.”

When people ask if their vote matters, Johnson responds with the story of Linda Harper-Brown, a six-term member of the Texas House of Representatives who retained her seat by 19 votes.

“Stop saying it’s just one vote. Every vote counts, and those votes add up. Your voice counts,” Johnson said. “Every one of those 19 voters had an impact, and so do you.”

Johnson’s speech encouraged one student.

“I definitely think my vote matters. I’m going to vote this year,” NE student Connor Bailey said.

Johnson told the students how their voices matter and that they can go to their city charter and find out the number of signatures they need for a petition that they want and they can bypass city council and create or recall a law.

“Don’t sit back and wait, take action,” Johnson said. “If you feel strongly about something, get in contact and use your power.”

Many students gained useful information during Johnson’s speech.

“I would have to say that we can create petitions to change laws in our cities and in our governments was one of the most powerful things that she talked about,” Rebecca Lowrance said.

Bailey said voters should be aware of how much impact they can have on smaller races.

“Voting for statewide government is just as important as voting for national government,” he said. “There’s a much wider spectrum of voting that you need to be aware of as opposed to what’s just shown and advertised for you.”

Students received sample voting ballots and were shown how to use them and what they need to do to vote in November. Students who didn’t attend the seminar can go to Tarrant County’s website for voting locations.

“Pay attention to all voting campaigns. Use your voice. Stay informed. Your votes matter.” Johnson said.

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