Student Government encourages student voter participation

Then business freshman Keybirlin Perdomo places her voter registration card inside the box provided by then Student Congress Sept. 14, 2016 on the University Center mall.

Student Government is registering Tarrant County residents to vote for the Nov. 6 election and encouraging them to be civically engaged.

The student-run organization holds voter registration drives at least once a week and tries to have a registration table at every event it hosts, Chief of Staff Bethany Clinton said. The drives are held until Oct. 9, which is the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, she said. Drives will be held more often as the deadline approaches and there will be many in the week preceding Oct. 9.

The amount of people registered at each event varies, but overall they have had good results, Clinton said.

“So far, we’ve gotten about 300 just in the first few weeks of school,” she said.

They are held at different times and locations throughout campus to reach a more diverse group of people, she said. Some locations include the Maverick Activities Center, the Central Library mall and the University Center mall. The drives can be held as early as 10 a.m. and as late as 5:30 p.m., she said.

The students can fill out a mail-in voter registration card and seal the envelope before sliding it in a locked metal box at the voter drives. The only people allowed to touch the box or a registration card are deputized registrars that have undergone training handling the information.

All of the drives give information on how and where to vote as well, she said.

Clinton said that Student Government signed their Action Plan last year, in which they pledged to hold as many voter registration tables as possible.

Student Government is also hosting a National Voter Registration Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, encouraging people to register, she said.

The organization as a whole is not allowed to be partisan, so every registration drive and table is solely encouraging people to vote, not who to vote for, Clinton said.

In addition, she made sure that every on-campus resident had a voter registration card on their bed when they moved in, she said.

Business graduate student Jarred Martin said he is already registered to vote, but he would encourage his friends to register at the drives since they’re convenient. However, he said no matter how they become registered, students should vote to make sure their voice is heard.

Martin said as he gets older, he is realizing the importance of voting because of how much affect it can have on his life.

Young people should be civically engaged because they will soon be in positions to make decisions for the good of the public, he said.

“It’s no longer just our parents’ generation that’s making these decisions,” Martin said. “It’s ours now.”

@HeitmeierDalton

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

Dalton Heitmeier is the 86th Texas Legislature beat reporter.

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