Website summarizes ballot’s constitution proposals - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Website summarizes ballot’s constitution proposals

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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:19 pm

Staff members from the Center for Civic Engagement went to the polls on Monday to participate during early voting as the state prepares for November’s constitutional amendment election.

But before they went, Estela Martinez, coordinator for the center, said she made sure everyone in her office had literature that would explain the amendments on the ballot.

That’s the idea that Mark Kaswan had when, as a professor, he enlisted his students to summarize the sometimes tedious and lengthy constitutional amendments voters in Cameron County will have to understand on Nov. 5.

With the help of a scholar from the center, a portion of the center’s website is dedicated to each amendment providing a description and pros and cons for each proposition.

The center’s scholar, Joe Molina, who helped on the project, said he was somewhat familiar with the proposed constitutional amendments.

“I’m familiar with them a lot more now because I had to read all these different arguments for and against,” Molina, 28, said.

Molina said it was an ambitious project to get the voter guide online during early voting, but they “completed the challenge.”

Molina, a senior at the University of Texas at Brownsville, said he hopes the project will help others understand what they will be voting on this election cycle.

“I believe that it’s a great idea to have to engage students and have students, for credit or not, interpret a very important issue such as voting on our amendments to the (state) constitution,” Molina said.

Molina, an engineering physics major, said it’s important for the community to see how students perceive these changes to the constitution.

Kaswan said he hopes people make use of the material.

“I hope people find this to be a valuable resource and that it helps to demonstrate to people the value of having quality information available to them in order to make informed decisions about what’s on the ballot,” Kaswan said.

Kaswan said he hopes a larger conversation about voter turnout rates begins in the state and in Cameron County — which are extremely low.

Descriptions of each proposed amendment can be found at

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