College Republicans, University Democrats keep encouraging students to vote through Election Day

David Loewenberg

Students at UT will join voters from across the nation Tuesday as they head to the polls to select the next president and shape the next Congress.

After a year and a half of campaigning, debating and fundraising, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remain neck and neck in national polls leading up to Election Day, although Obama appears to hold a slight lead in several key battleground states. Senior government lecturer John McIver said he predicts a very tight race that could possibly continue beyond Tuesday night.

“I think the short-term question will simply be whether or not we have a decision [Tuesday] night,” McIver said.

While Texas will not be the center of attention in the presidential race, students have the opportunity to influence dozens of races and ballot initiatives up and down the ballot, including Proposition 1, which would increase property taxes to help fund a teaching hospital and UT medical school.

The Flawn Academic Center and the University Co-op on Guadalupe St. will serve as two of 247 polling locations in Travis County on Tuesday. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In order to vote, students can present their voter registration card, driver’s license or a utility bill with a current address, among other options. Polling locations across the county, including the FAC and Co-op, are open for voters registered in any Travis County precinct.

Many student groups on campus are spending the last few hours of the campaign season encouraging students to let their voices be heard in national, state and local elections. Danny Zeng, communications director for College Republicans, said his group will be displaying a homemade debt clock on the West Mall throughout Election Day to convey the stakes of this election to voters.

“I think it’s important for us to remind voters of the context and background we’re voting in,” Zeng said. “I do think the future prospects of students obtaining a job depend on the electoral result of this election.”
A total of 12,320 votes were cast at the Flawn Academic Center during the two-week early voting period. Lines snaked through the FAC Friday and even longer lines can be expected on Election Day.

University Democrats historian Justin Perez said the organization will set up a “war room” from which people will be dispersed throughout campus to remind students to vote and provide snacks to people waiting in voting lines inside the FAC. Perez said even though Texas is not a battleground state, there are many important state and local elections students have a particular stake in.

“Down ballot I would say those races affect you as much as or even more so than the presidential race because it’s local and there are direct impacts you can notice right away,” Perez said. “Those have a lot less participation so their voice matters a whole lot more.”

After the polls close, UDems will host a watch party at Cuatro’s, and College Republicans will meet at Scholz Garten. Students seeking a nonpartisan event can head to the Student Activity Center Ballroom where multiple nonpartisan organizations will be hosting a watch party.

Printed on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 as: Candidate stay close in home stretch