University Democrats pull all-nighter to be first in line to vote

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Garabedian | Daily Texan Staff

The University Democrats have spent the past few weeks encouraging students to get excited about voting, and now they’re putting their words into action.

On Monday night, University Democrats hosted “Voterama,” an all-night hangout on the West Mall, in order to be the first people in line when polls opened Tuesday morning at the Flawn Academic Center.

“(Voterama) is basically a fun event to really get our members, and hopefully by extension other students, excited about early voting and voting in general,” said Kate Diller, University Democrats membership director and government senior. “It’s mostly board games, maybe touch or flag football, with some downtime for school work and for people to get to know each other better.”

“Voterama” ran from 10 p.m. Monday through 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. Marco Guajardo, University Democrats communications director, said the effort is equally effective at generating publicity for the group as it is energizing the existing members.

“There are usually whispers of, ‘Wow, did you hear the UDems stayed up all night just to vote?’” marketing sophomore Guajardo said. “We hope that kind of talk gets people to start wondering why we’re so committed to voting, and maybe they’ll decide to do some research on their ballot.”

“Voterama” has been a recurring University Democrats tactic over the years to energize the club membership ahead of an election, and it is a deeply valued tradition among leaders like Andrew Herrera, the organization’s vice president.

“I look forward to every single one we plan,” government junior Herrera said. “It all just leads up to the first chance we have to start a movement. If we elect capable and inspiring candidates in this primary, then we are only that much more poised to take back the House and Senate in 2018.”

Herrera said there are several reasons he looks forward to “Voterama” events, from getting “loopy” from sleep deprivation to being overtly political on the West Mall.

“We’re supposed to play touch football at some point,” Herrera said. “That’s bound to be a lot of fun since most of us only pretend to be athletic.”

The backdrop for this season’s “Voterama” is a fraught political landscape, one the University Democrats are intent on overturning.

“To many students, there is nothing more important than returning to a state of normalcy and stability in our politics,” Guajardo said. “I’m excited about what this event symbolizes: grassroots progressive enthusiasm.”