This 2020 Spring Semester at N.C. A&T has brought with it two important seasons for civic work: primary elections and the national Census.
The Primary Election
The primary election determines who will be the Democratic and Republican nominees for U.S. Presidential election. This way, when the General Election in November rolls around, the only thing that American citizens have to do is vote on the predetermined candidates.
The primary election day is on March 3; however, early voting began on Feb. 13, and it ends this Saturday, Feb. 29. Early voting is the only time during an election where North Carolinians can vote at any polling site in their county and register to vote on the same day.
At N.C. A&T, we recently got a polling site on campus, which is something that student leaders like Attorney General Brenda Caldwell fought long and hard for at Board of Elections meetings downtown.
In addition, our campus is no longer being gerrymandered. That means every student living on campus is in one district. And now, all of our votes will go toward the same candidates in the same race.
It is so important that N.C. A&T students utilize their vote in each election. If someone is living somewhere an extended period of time, everything that happens to them during that time will be handled by that state’s police officers, courts and legislature. Early voting allows people to avoid long lines, and they also have a chance to register on-site.
The U.S. Census
Every ten years, the Census Bureau counts each and every person that is living in the United States.
The 2020 Census only has nine questions, and it does not ask any about citizenship. In fact, someone who is from another country is counted if they spend more than six months in the U.S., on any given year.
So, what does the Census Bureau do with the data they collect, and why is it taken?
Well, the United States Constitution mandates the Census should be taken every ten years. Over 130 federal programs use Census data to dictate how over $675 billion will be distributed to the states. This money is used to fund college loans, to build highways, daycares and hospitals.
The data determines projected population growth rates, and it suggests future public transportation needs.
There is an indeterminable amount of uses for Census data, and that is why every person should be counted. The data is federally required to remain confidential for the next 72 years, and the Census form asks no questions about individuals’ political affiliations.
It is necessary to be counted, and it is our duty to make sure that we are.
Stay tuned this semester for programs and events that will be held on campus.
Student leaders are working hard to educate their peers about this important season, so we should attend to be informed.
As we approach Spring Break, remember to vote on March 3, if you did not do so during early voting.
Go get informed about who is on the ballot, so we can all make informed decisions.
Until next time, Aggie Pride!