Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

TX Votes makes voting more accessible, less challenging for students

Atahan Koksoy
Students congregate on the West Mall, waiting in line to vote on Nov. 3, 2023. The voting took place inside the Flawn Academic Center.

During a chilly, early November week, students filed into the Flawn Academic Center, ready to participate in their civic duty. Early voting for the constitutional amendment election on Nov. 7 took place last week. Leading up to the election, voter registration and education group TX Votes worked fervently, registering over a thousand students.

As a non-partisan organization, TX Votes’ work since its inception in 2015 always focused on civic engagement and registering students to vote. In 2016, the voting rate on campus sat at 58.1%, but rose 17% by the 2020 election, according to the organization. For Caleb Mulugeta, a first-year TX Votes member, joining the group helps him impact the community.

“Going out and talking to people, making sure they’re registered (to vote) … it feels like even though I’m just one person, I’m actually (making a difference),” said Mulugeta, a government and economics major. 

According to an Instagram post by the org, in just one week last year, TX Votes managed to register a total of 6,686 students. Since then, the organization began prioritizing voter education, according to Vice President Jillian Hester.

“One of the biggest barriers for students trying to vote is jargon — it gets (confusing),” Hester said. “A lot of it is breaking down the jargon and dissecting what (the ballot is) really saying, and putting it into everyday words.”

The upcoming election will dictate the future of 14 constitutional amendments, with topics ranging from higher education research, water and broadband infrastructure and the creation of state parks. In preparation, TX Votes posted infographics describing how to register to vote and explaining the possible effects of the proposed amendments to students. Scott Poole, TX Vote’s president and government and history junior, said he sees voting as a chance for students to make their voices heard.

“I’ve learned from the people in TX Votes to not be apathetic and understand that we have control over a lot of (decisions), even if it doesn’t feel like it,” Poole said. “A lot of the government processes and politics that affect us, we have control over.”

After this Tuesday, TX Votes said it will immediately look ahead to spring elections. Their focus then becomes breaking down the next ballot’s topics and getting more students registered in time. 

“Registering people to vote is always the most rewarding aspect,” said Libby McTaggart, biology junior and the organization’s digital media co-chair. “(A lot of people) don’t realize they have the opportunity to get registered and vote on (certain issues). It’s awesome that within TX Votes, we get to give people their first voting opportunity and resources they need to make informed decisions as an adult and as a participant in democracy.”

TX Votes hopes to continue increasing civic engagement among students and get them registered, informed and more involved in their communities, Poole said.

“What started out as a central voter registration (and) education organization is trying to blossom into something a little bigger,” Poole said. “(We’re) trying to create more civic dialogue on campus and increase the overall level of civic engagement at UT, and that’s where we are now.”


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