Students encouraged to take active role in local election


Davis McCool

Election day is here, and that means it’s time to head to the polls.

Controversy has blanketed this current election, as nothing has been more talked about than Initiative 42. The initiative proposes increased funding for schools, but also gives the responsibility for that task to a federal judge. Partisan bickering over the initiative is at an all-time high.

Claiborne Barksdale, brother of Mississippi native and former president and CEO of Netscape, Jim Barksdale, is an avid campaigner for Initiative 42, and he made his way out to the polls to publicly support it.

“Initiative 42 is so important,” Barksdale said. “We need it to ensure adequate funding, good teachers, good textbooks, latest technology and safe buses. If the legislature would fund education as they promised to, this would not be necessary in the first place. I am optimistic and hopeful it will prevail.”

However, many Republic politicians, such as incumbent state senator Gray Tollison, are against the Initiative. A Republican campaigner at the National Guard Armory/Oxford Conference Center voting precinct argued Tuesday that the initiative gives the power to distribute school money to a judge in Hinds County, which could lead to a ruling that would only benefit a select few and not the entire state.

“Everybody supports education,” Tollison said. “Just because you have a different opinion on the particular initiative, that doesn’t mean you aren’t concerned about the impact on the structure of representational government.”

The initiative is not the only measure on the ballot today, as many incumbent state senators, representatives and county supervisors are up for re-election.

With those politicians campaigning, comes the need for many campaign helpers, such as Ole Miss student Miles Johnson. Johnson is currently campaigning for Phil Bryant, who is up for re-election as governor.

His tasks include going door to door, waving signs and organizing events in favor of the governor. To support his hard work, he says, everyone should be encouraged to go out and vote today.

“Our country is fortunate that everyone has a vote,” Johnson said. “We should use that right; in many countries not everyone can vote.”

No matter who or what you may support, voting is a right that both parties encourage citizens to participate in.

“It is very important for young people to come out and vote and get involved because statistics will show that younger people have a lower percentage of voter turnout,” Tollison said. “The decisions that are made in Jackson will definitely have an impact on these young people down the road.”

The polls in Oxford are open until 7 p.m. Tuesday.