Voter turnout at FAC ranks third-highest in Travis County

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Jones | Daily Texan Staff

With early voting drawing to a close, students, faculty and members of the surrounding community have made UT’s polling place of choice, the Flawn Academic Center, the Travis County polling place with the third highest turnout.

Just over 42 percent of Travis County’s registered voters have already cast their ballots, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office. As of Wednesday, 16,253 people had voted in the FAC, according to the Travis County Clerk’s office.

Speech pathology junior Sarah Bookout didn’t want to reveal who she voted for but said she decided to vote early in order to avoid the long lines on Nov. 8.

“I didn’t want to wait on long lines on Election Day, and it was really convenient that UT had it here and set up and it was an easy process,” Bookout said. “Everyone’s been advocating for going to early vote no matter who you’re voting for. Everyone has their stickers on their Snapchat stories. It’s definitely a popular thing to come early vote rather than wait until Election Day.”

Business freshmen Genesis Hernandez and Taryn Medina came to vote together after class on Thursday. Both said they voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and down-ballot Democrats.

Hernandez said the convenience of the FAC greatly affected her decision to vote. 

“Honestly, I don’t think I would have voted had [a polling place] not been on campus, because I wouldn’t have had a way to get there,” Hernandez said. 

Medina said being able to vote on campus was beneficial but added polling places with slightly longer hours would be good for students.

“I think if they extended the hours just one hour it would be good,” Medina said. “I [normally] have a class from 6 to 7 [p.m.] today, so I wouldn’t have been able to vote today.”

Government graduate student Nadine Gibson also voted for Clinton. Gibson said seeing the long lines outside the FAC last week was motivation for students to come and vote early. 

“There’s a bandwagon effect,” Gibson said. “When you see long lines, you think, ‘Everyone’s doing it, so I should too.’”

Deanna Hausman, UT Votes vice president and biochemistry sophomore, said students are inspired to vote because of the issues that face young people right now.

“Many of us are facing massive student debt, issues of social injustice and discrimination, and in the future we’re going to have to deal with issues of climate change and entering a job market that tends to not be friendly to us,” Hausman said. “These issues are going to impact us throughout our lives, and as we’re entering adulthood, I think it’s natural for us to want to influence how these decisions are made.”

The last day of early voting is Friday, Nov. 4. Registered voters can also vote in the FAC on Election Day, Nov. 8.