The Perry-Castañeda Library will function as a second polling location during early voting and on Election Day following a unanimous vote Tuesday by the Travis County Commissioner’s Court.
Citing increased wait times at the Flawn Academic Center, UT’s sole polling location since 2005, student leaders from TX Votes and University Democrats partnered with Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to pass legislation for a second location on campus.
“I’ve seen the line wrap all the away around the building, with students having to wait three to four hours to cast their vote,” said chemistry junior Maya Patel, vice president of TX Votes. “The long lines deter students from voting because they simply don’t have time to wait. A second polling location on campus should minimize the wait times at the FAC.”
Both the PCL and FAC polling locations will operate throughout early voting. To keep the lines moving on Election Day, students should vote sooner rather than later, Ronald Morgan, Travis County deputy clerk, said at the hearing.
“Plan to vote early, and don’t just plan to vote early — plan to vote early during early voting,” Morgan said. “It’s a mouthful, but its important and it’s the easiest way to avoid the self-inflicted wound of waiting in line in the last few hours of Election Day.”
Allie Runas, former University Democrats president, said she hopes more students vote since they no longer have to choose between class and waiting in line for three hours.
“The addition of the second polling location on campus is a huge step in acknowledging that the student population is motivated to exercise their civic duty now more than ever,” said Runas, an electrical and computer engineering senior. “I hope that students take this as an opportunity to take ownership of their futures and accept the responsibility of showing the county that they aren’t wasting anything on us.”