Student organizations to host all-day rally on campus for final day of voter registration

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Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

With Election Day 28 days away, student organizations are rushing to register students to vote before the deadline today at midnight.

Civic engagement groups on campus, such as Hook the Vote and UT Votes, are holding an all-day voter registration event and a voter rally at 6 p.m. in a last-minute attempt to register students. 

Groups will be registering voters from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Gregory Gym and the West and East mall, and 6 p.m. to midnight at the Main Mall. 

“We’re having a huge rally on the last day to register to vote with a bunch of other organizations that do civic engagement,” said Richelle King, president of Texas Rising. “There’s going to be music, a pet sanctuary, puppies, prizes and food. Everything and anything we can do to get people to turn out to vote.”

On Sept. 27, National Voter Registration Day, groups such as these registered more than 1,200 students to vote in the upcoming election, and Travis County beat a record by registering 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters, according to the Austin American Statesman. University Democrats said they’ve registered more than 5,000 voters this semester.

As reported by the Texas Tribune in March, Texas had the second-lowest voter turnout rate in the primaries, beating only Louisiana, which requires voters to register as a Democrat or Republican before voting in their respective primaries. 

King said the low voter turnout rate in Texas makes the job of volunteer deputy registrars even more important. 

“Texas has extremely low voter turnout rates especially among millennials, so it’s really imperative that folks like us that are [volunteer deputy registars] engage our peers in the voting process,” King said.

Psychology sophomore Samantha Brewer, a VDR and resident assistant, said voters in younger generations don’t realize the importance of their ballot. 

“I think that people in our generation don’t consider how important their voice is,” Brewer said. “I’ve been paying bills since I was 16, so I think it’s very important that we are registered because our voices do matter.”

To register to vote in Texas, voters must be U.S. citizens and be 17 years and 10 months of age. Voters can be registered at the county voter registrar’s office or be registered by a VDR from their own county.

After filling out and submitting a voter registration form, registered voters will be mailed a registration certificate within 30 days. Voters have to cast their ballot in their own precinct, which can be found on the
registration certificate. 

If voters are unsure about their registration status, they can visit votetexas.gov and check using their driver’s license number, first and last name and date of birth, or the voter unique identifier that appears on their
registration certificate. 

In order to vote on Election Day, voters must bring this registration certificate and a form of identification to the polls. If a voter does not possess an acceptable form of ID, they must fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration. To be eligible to vote with an impediment declaration, voters must indicate one of the following impediments: lack of transportation, disability or illness, lack of birth certificate or documents necessary to get a photo ID, work schedule, family responsibilities, lost or stolen photo ID, having applied for an ID but not received it yet or another reasonable impediment.