Cooper High Teacher Becomes a Citizen and Registers To Vote
There are now less than two weeks to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election. Come November, Lubbock voters can cast a ballot at any of the 50 voting centers throughout the county. One of those voters will be a Lubbock-Cooper High School teacher who is also a new US citizen.
For more than 35 years, Lubbock-Cooper High School teacher Mariluz Gaviria has waited for this moment, to register to vote. On Tuesday morning, she did so just minutes after becoming a US citizen. "I left my country at 17, and you start voting at 18 and during election times I was always working here and I've never been able to vote there and this would be my first time here," Gaviria said.
Gaviria came to Lubbock from Colombia more than 20 years ago. However, it wasn't until nearly a year ago she applied to become a US citizen.
She says one reason to vote in the upcoming presidential election. "The candidates and I've been following it pretty close," Gaviria said.
Gaviria is not alone. A record number of voters are expected to turn out to the polls November 4. However, to ensure your vote counts, you must be registered.
"Nobody can be turned away at the polls. According to state law you can vote on a provisional ballot but it may not be counted if you are not registered in Lubbock County to vote," Lubbock County Elections Administrator Dorothy Kennedy said.
Kennedy says college students can also register in the counties where they go to school. "Whether it's LCU, Lubbock or Texas Tech they get the opportunity to choose where they want to vote."So they can claim Lubbock as their residence while they are going to school," Kennedy said.
It's a right that each American is entitled, but to do so you must register. Something Gaviria wasted no time doing once she became US citizen. "I'm very proud now to be able to vote and give my opinion," Gaviria said.
To help voters register or check if they are registered the Lubbock County Elections Office has set up a voter hotline.
The hotline is open through October 6 from 8 a.m. to 6p.m. Operators are available to answer your questions Monday through Saturday. The Voter Hotline number is 775-1868.
Monday, October 6th at 5 p.m. is the last day you can register to vote for the presidential election.