Campus organization joins National Voter Registration Day drive

Audrey Browning

Thirty students registered to vote through a registration booth on the West Mall for National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, according to UT Votes, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing electoral participation.

UT Votes, which joined more than 2,100 organizations across America in registering voters for the day, registered approximately 100 people to vote on registration day last year, according to Zach Foust, history senior and UT Votes volunteer.

“I found my home at UT Votes, where the nonpartisan atmosphere permitted an idealistic attitude about the importance of democracy.” Foust said in an email. “Students at UT become genuinely excited when they register to vote, and I like to see their enthusiasm.”

Foust said he believes voting is an important aspect of civic engagement and civic duties.

“I believe that the process of researching issues and then casting a ballot broadens our understanding of the world — like community service might offer perspective into the lives of other people.” Foust said.  “While we have a responsibility to keep our elected officials accountable, we as individuals benefit the most from voting.”

Government junior Jeramy Howell said his motivation to register and to vote came from his personal disapproval of current elected officials. Howell registered to vote at the UT Votes booth but already knew about voter registration day and its importance from serving as a deputy voter registrar.

“We often complain about how our political system has become so polarized,” Howell said in an email. “That’s because voter turnout is ridiculously low, and so only a small percentage of our population controls who goes into office, and in effect, that percentage elects divisive and sometimes radical figures. I registered to vote today to make the process work.”

Adrienne Carter, international relations and global studies and history senior, said she is passionate about voting and spent all day pushing her friends to register.

“Ever since I can remember, it’s been important in my family [to vote],” Carter said. “Not everybody in this world gets the right to vote. I feel like one of the things we as Americans are so proud of is our democratic form of government. Voting is not only a civic duty, but it’s a patriotic act in and of itself.”