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Students hone knowledge about Constitution

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Bill McCamley, secretary of the Department of Workforce Solutions, urges Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell students to vote, participate in the Census and appreciate what the Constitution means to U.S. citizens during a Constitution Day event Tuesday. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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What do you know about the contents of the U.S. Constitution and its significance to daily life?

Students at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell had the opportunity to become better acquainted with the “supreme law of the land” Tuesday during the Constitution Day event in the Instructional Technology Building on the campus.

The day marked the 232nd anniversary of the signing of a document that outlines how the federal government works and specifies the rights and freedoms of U.S. citizens.

Students were given an opportunity to register to vote, talk with local representatives of the U.S. Census 2020 count, obtain free pocket-size pamphlets of the Constitution, sign a mock-up of the Bill of Rights and participate in quizzes about the contents of the Constitution.

“It was one of the first documents in the world to set up a system by which you all, you all, choose how we live as a society,” said Bill McCamley, secretary for the Department of Workforce Solutions in the administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

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“Please if you are not registered to vote, take the 30 seconds it takes to fill out a piece of paper and register to vote,” he said. “One of the beautiful things about the Constitution is, if you want to play in your community, if you want to decide how things get done, you can. And that is a special, wonderful thing that a lot of people in the world do not have.”

He also told students that the Constitution is remarkable because, although the system of laws was written by men 232 years ago, it continues to be adaptable to meet today’s needs.

“The great thing is that it changes as we change,” he said. “You all play a role in making sure those changes reflect what you want.”

Some legal scholars, however, differ in that view, believing that the Constitution should be viewed only as intended by the original drafters.

McCamley also encouraged people to learn more about the 2020 Census, to be sure to fill out their Census forms and to consider taking temporary jobs with the U.S. Census Bureau to help with the effort.

The Census is important, he said. “And many of you may know about it but it is this, the laws in the Constitution are all about the population, all about democracy. … We want to give people a certain amount of money (for transportation, health care, Pell grants and other federal programs) depending on where they are, who they are. Every 10 years we have a count in this country that counts everybody in this country and, if you don’t fill out that paperwork, we don’t know you exist.”

Constitution Day, sometimes called Citizens Day, has been held nationwide since 2005.