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      The driving forces behind why we vote

      In a presidential election year it's common to see a spike in votes cast and this year is no different, in fact, valley voters have exceeded the numbers from back in 2008 already.

      The Texas Democratic Party Chairman hopes the momentum will carry into election day.

      "When we don't participate in the electoral process, when we don't vote, we allow other people to make those decisions."

      Gilberto Hinojosa says that is why we vote, to be heard.

      UTPA Assistant Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Dr. Jessica Laeriaga - Monforti tells her Political Science students not to be ignored.

      "We get to determine whether new schools will be funded, whether we will have money for drainage, a hand in deciding what happens to our firefighters and issues that are important to us locally," says Dr. Laeriaga Monforti.

      Hinojosa agrees saying, "the people who determine the quality of public schools that we have in our state are elected by people who vote at election time. When we don't go vote what kind of inheritance have we left our children?"

      As for electing the president, some may feel their vote doesn't matter, but it does under the surface.

      "State level votes are tallied into the electoral college, however, candidates do look at county level returns and looking at what pockets of support they have across the country," says the UTPA dean.

      "Politicians listen to where the political power is in a particular community then they are going to pay attention to their needs and the interests that they have," says Hinojosa.

      With a national war, health care and immigration laws on the table there are not many other ways to shape the future of the government except to vote.

      "I think the importance of voting here is a lot more important than a lot of other places. There has been history of voter suppression of Hispanics, generally speaking, population is growing so much that we need to start these traditions in our families so that people are socialized in the process of voting," says Monforti, "if we turn out in large numbers they will have to listen to what we have to say."

      "We need to talk to our friends, families, neighbors, compadres, doesn't matter who you vote for just go vote."