MOVE Texas hosts Party at the Polls to remind UT-Austin students to vote

Alexander Mansky

To increase voter turnout, MOVE Texas held a Party at the Polls on Friday, offering snacks and games in front Gregory Gym to remind people it was the last day to early vote for the 2020 primaries.

MOVE Texas volunteers and fellows gave students the opportunity to play different games, eat food and learn about the primary election and other upcoming elections. MOVE Texas began in 2013 as a nonpartisan, student-run organization dedicated to reminding students of the current elections to increase their civic engagement. Now, it is a statewide civic engagement effort to increase voter turnout.

MOVE Texas fellow Blake Zimmerman said MOVE Texas hosts the event near the polling locations to remind people to vote. 

“People forget, so the spatial aspect of us being close to a polling location is actually very helpful, and perhaps it makes voting seem exciting,” humanities sophomore Zimmerman said. 

Zimmerman said he observed how having fun events near polling can affect voter turnout. He said the organization hosts other events, such as phone banks and block walks, to increase voter turnout.

“There are a lot of different ways to get people out to vote, but one of the most effective ways has been found to be posting fun parties near polling locations,” Zimmerman said. “It’s really interesting how giving people pizza and sodas near a polling location can actually encourage them and serve as a reminder to get out.” 

UT alumnus James Stratton, a current fellow of MOVE Texas, said he felt the organization was necessary because of recent elections’ lack of voter turnout. 

“We have the opportunity to choose our rulers, we might as well take advantage of that,” Stratton said. 

Stratton said it is important to encourage students to vote because of how it impacts them later in life. 

“The earlier one starts voting, the more persistent one’s going to be throughout their life,” Stratton said. “The earlier we can start y’all, most students are entering UT of the age to vote, so we want you to get that habit to vote and be involved in civic engagement as early as possible.”

Alyssa Ramirez, a international relations and global studies junior, said she noticed real change made by MOVE Texas.

“Since its starting, we’ve seen an increase in voter turnout, by encouraging them and other groups,” Ramirez said.