UT-Austin organizations coordinate to register students to vote

Laura Morales

The Civic Engagement Alliance, in conjunction with TX Votes, gathered representatives from 78 campus organizations to encourage voter registration among their members, students and the Austin community. 

Representatives within the CEA are trained volunteer deputy registrars. Deputies set up booths, go to classrooms and attend organization meetings to register students. Kassie Barroquillo, primary coordinator of TX Votes, hopes to see a 30 percent UT voter turnout during the 2018 midterm elections. Midterm election turnout in 2014 for UT was 18 percent, according to a study by Tufts University.

“Midterm elections are harder to get people invested (in) than presidential elections,” said Barroquillo, a communication studies graduate student. “There is research that states that you are most impacted by your peers on whether or not you are going to register to vote, so hearing the president of your student organization say that it’s super important is going to be more impactful.”

Myles Boone, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter at UT, is one of the new members of CEA. The NAACP plans to expand the reach of their efforts beyond the UT campus and into East Austin. 

“A lot of times people will just say, ‘The election is already set,’ especially in the minority community,” finance senior Boone said. “It’s mostly about educating voters and getting them to vote to show that every voice counts and every voice matters in this upcoming election.”

Abrahim Javed, operational finance manager for Nueces Mosque , said he also hopes for greater representation as a result of his organization’s push to register Nueces Mosque attendees.

“Community engagement is important because there have been times when we’ve been left out of the conversation,” finance sophomore Javed said. “Being involved politically is a good way to normalize that we are part of a larger community as well, no matter which way we vote.”

The CEA planned several events, such as a screening of the movie “One Vote” and a Q&A session with the movie’s director on Sept. 5, as well as all-day registration tabling along Speedway on Oct. 9, the last day to register.

“The things that impact our daily lives happen at a local level,” Barroquillo said. “It’s really important that we take the opportunity to teach young people to vote because when you vote once, you are more likely to vote again.”