Students train to become volunteer deputy registrars for upcoming election

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Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

Today is the final day for students to become volunteer deputy registrars, and training will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Wagner Student Workroom.

Volunteer deputy registrars are students who register other students to vote for the upcoming election. The registrars go through a one-hour training that informs students how to register other students and how to handle certain situations when registering people. The training is then followed by a deputization ceremony.

The training session for tonight is hosted by the Student Government’s Hook the Vote agency, which engages students in three areas: “voter registration, education, and mobilization,” according to the SG website.

“Everything that we do is based on the help of our VDRs,” said Bailey Schumm, Hook the Vote director and public health senior. “We couldn’t register nearly as many students without them.”

SG President Kevin Helgren said VDRs connect voters to county officials who handle materials needed for people to become registered voters by having potential voters sign registration cards and receipts for them to keep.

“The more VDRs we have, the more people who are eligible to register students to vote,” said Helgren, a neuroscience and psychology senior. “I think it all boils down to the importance of taking an active role in civic engagement. I think that especially with the upcoming election, [students] have the potential to play a huge role in the outcome. We have a very informed, a very educated and a very opinionated student body, given the tendencies of the University, and I think it’s important that we leverage that opportunity to the best of our ability.”

Sarah Herzer, a political communication and ancient history sophomore, is a volunteer deputy registrar and said she got deputized to help people have their voices heard in the elections and so other students can do the same.

“You make a difference with every voter registered,” Herzer said. “A VDR makes real change in the lives of each person they register, so if you want to make change, being a VDR is a great and easy way to do that.”

Helgren also said SG plans on using other initiatives to encourage more students to become registered voters, such as a “voter registration tabling event” on Oct. 11. The event will be hosted by Hook the Vote with free pizza and live music.

“After that, our big shift will be to get students ready to vote,” Helgren said. “Registering people to vote is one thing, and then getting there and actually voting is another, and the best way to actually to be civically engaged in the upcoming election is to do both of those things.”

The deadline to register to vote is midnight Oct. 11.