Breaking News–An amendment to the Texas Election Code that will allocate electoral votes proportionally has passed the Legislative Committee with unanimous support. The bill, authored by William Bolduc of the Austin Delegation, is to be debated in the full Legislative Chamber this afternoon. Bolduc is hopeful that, if signed into law, his bill will increase Texan voter representation.
Texas has historically utilized plurality voting, also known as a “winner-takes-all” system, to allocate electoral votes. This means that when Texans vote in elections, the candidate that wins the popular vote will receive all of the state’s electoral votes. According to Bolduc, this approach is unfair because it effectively nullifies the votes cast for minority candidates. So, Bolduc has looked to states like Nebraska and Maine, which split their electoral votes according to the percentage of the popular vote that each candidate receives. Boldic believes that it is vital that a similar approach is implemented in Texas.
“The way [the electoral college] is administered in Texas goes against the core principles of a fair and united democracy,” Bolduc said. “A system where a majority of a single vote can decide who receives all of our electors, where a candidate can win every electoral vote in Texas without even getting fifty percent of the votes, is not only undemocratic, it is the single greatest form of voter suppression in our time.”
Bolduc’s argument resonated with the other members of his committee, who spoke out in favor of the bill during the pro-con debate period. According to Bolduc, there was not a single dissenter who thought that his proposition should not pass. “They all agreed that we must move away from the winner-takes-all system to a fair, proportional distribution, in which everyone’s vote will count,” Boldoc said. “It’s exciting to know that…we are now one step closer to having electors distributed based on the percentage of the popular vote that each candidate receives.” However, Bolduc acknowledges that it will be challenging to pass his bill in the full chamber.
“I do expect there to be more opposition in the full chamber because there’s a wider variety of opinions and delegations represented,” Bolduc said. “But, I also think this is a common sense bill that a lot of people can get behind.”
Bolduc credits the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections for highlighting faults within the current electoral system. “Texas is a ‘red state’ but that doesn’t mean that 100% of our voters are Republican. The winner-takes-all approach doesn’t reflect voter diversity in this state,” Bolduc said. “No matter what side of the aisle people are on, I think you can agree that a proportional allocation of votes will more fairly reflect the interests of the people.”
If his bill passes, Bolduc is confident that it will make each Texan feel more represented, and thus, more engaged in elections. “When states consistently swing one way, I think a lot of people assume they might as well not vote. If they’re in the minority, it’s like their vote doesn’t even matter,” Bolduc said. “That’s a very dangerous feeling that can undermine our whole democracy, so I think that it could be very helpful to have people know that even if their candidate doesn’t win, they still made some difference by voting.” Ultimately, Bolduc believes that his amendment will have the power to increase voter turnout and confidence in elections to come.
Story by Ava Motes
There is a held belief that Youth and Government is limited to those pursuing a career in politics. This weekend, over 500 students are showcasing their skills in the Texas State Conference. However, many delegates do not intend on pursuing a career in politics.
Delegates in Youth and Government claim they want to pursue a diverse range of careers beyond high school, such as hospitality, finance, and Animal Science. “I think the skills I have learned through Youth and Government will be helpful in pursuing my dream career of psychology and sociology.” Stated Joshua Lee
But the benefits of the program are not limited to the skills built while students are speaking. The preparation for competition also teaches critical thinking and research skills. “I have been in Legislative, Judicial, and State Affairs; all 3 of those sections within this program challenged me in different ways. Judicial namely had deep critical thinking skills, however, all sections do as well,” said Matthew Garcia from Duncanville High School. “To be successful in not only this program you’ll need critical thinking and research skills. I will be forever grateful for this program in not only teaching me those skills but making me find my passion with it.”
Delegates have also found that not only does debate teach useful academic skills, but also for life. “I think some life skills that this program teaches everyone is public speaking, which is something that will continue throughout high school, college, and into a professional career.” Stated State Affairs clerk Ainsley Burkes.
Other than teaching skills, Youth and Government allows you to take in other viewpoints according to delegates in State Affairs. There is a worry that when different people from various backgrounds meet, they won’t come to an understanding. “Through this program I’ve learned to be respectful of everyone’s viewpoints no matter how different they are,” said Jaalen Robinson from Duncanville High School. “I’ve done this by being open-minded and not just trying to argue with one another and actually listening to each point.”
These students acknowledge that committing to speech and debate offers a lifetime of benefits. Besides gaining knowledge in the governmental process, Youth and Government allows participants to develop oral and written communication skills, critical thinking skills and effective tools for research, organization and presentation. They agree that Youth and Government is beneficial for every future endeavor, not just political ones.
By: Jacqueline Chávez , Duncanville High School
This Saturday during the State Affairs forum section, YG SAF Delegate David Wyatt launched a proposal on a rather interesting topic— teaching proper sexual education to adolescent students.
Delegate Wyatt proposed that the class will be taught to students from 7th grade up until the 10th grade.
Wyatt’s proposal also states that parents should also have the opportunity to opt their students out of the class, if parents are not comfortable with their children being taught about the topic within school.
The reason for his proposal is due to the fact that most schools that do teach Sex Ed only teach about abstinence, which in ineffective because most students still decide to engage sexual activities anyways. As a better solution to its ineffectiveness, he decided that it would be better to just teach more about practicing safe sex, as opposed to what was initially being taught.
Delegate Wyatt also mentioned that biology teachers should most likely be teaching this course, as biology teachers have the most knowledge about the human body of all teachers within the school already.
Also, in regards to the class, students and parents should receive an outline of the class as a whole, and what exactly will be taught in the program. Parents would receive a list of topics to talk to their child/children about incase they wanted to speak with them privately about the topic as well. He mentions this while elaborating on his proposal. “Teachers will provide a list of topics of which parents could speak to their children privately about the topic” said Delegate Wyatt.
As result many other Delegates thought delegate Wyatt’s proposal was a good idea as well.
For example fellow YG SAF Delegate Joshua Lee backs up Wyatt’s claims about what sex ed classes teach so he agreed with the idea to at least teach students to practice safe sex, whether they would choose to engage in sexual activities or not.