Voter registration efforts increase as deadline nears

AddThis

As the Nov. 6 Election Day approaches, time for eligible voters to register is running out.

To vote in Texas, citizens must register 30 days prior to an election — Oct. 9. Registration requires applicants to be residents of the county, at least 18-years-old, not a convicted felon and not declared mentally disabled by a court of law. Students who are registered can choose to vote in Travis County or in the county of their parents’ home, but not both.

Dee Lopez, director of Travis County Voter Registration, said the office is receiving more than 3,000 voter registration applications daily.

“We try to make sure the date is publicized online, on social media like Facebook and Twitter and we know the local news channels have Oct. 9 on their websites as well,” Lopez said.

Lopez said students should be aware of the additional mailing deadline if they plan to vote outside Travis County. Students registered elsewhere in Texas will either have to visit their designated precinct on Election Day or contact their County Clerk’s office to request a mail-in ballot, which should be received by Oct. 30.

Lopez said this election season, many young people were trained to register others. She said while the county normally offers training sessions monthly, they will have daily training sessions available from now until Oct. 8.

“We’ve had classrooms full of young adults coming in to get trained from government organizations, government classes and public official classes,” Lopez said. “The [voter] applications are increasing every day from the UT area.”

Jordan Grenadier, government junior and Young Conservatives of Texas executive director, has been trained to register other voters and said her government professors have encouraged students to register with her.

“It seems like there is an increase in people interested in registering just because it’s a presidential election, and that’s really publicized and everyone knows it’s happening soon,” Grenadier said.

Kevin Alcantar, government sophomore and University Democrats community outreach director, said his organization has made voter registration a priority by tabling often on the West Mall and participating in activities that encourage new voters, including Hook the Vote’s registration drive.

“When we’re tabling we yell out information about the deadline to tell people it’s coming up soon while trying not to be influential about who they vote for,” Alcantar said. “We’re not saying, ‘Come register to vote for Barack Obama.’ We just want people to register.”

Voter registration cards are sent to applicants 30 days after they apply. Early voting will take place from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2.

Printed on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 as: Voter registration deadline nears