On-Campus Sites Offer UT Students and Staff Easy Access to Voting
Nov 10, 2023

On-Campus Sites Offer UT Students and Staff Easy Access to Voting

Reporting Texas TV

AUSTIN, Texas – The University of Texas hosted two polling locations for early voting as well as Election Day on Nov. 7.

Students, faculty and others voted on 14 proposed amendments to the state constitution which included issues such as taxes, state parks, and infrastructure. Thirteen of the 14 proposed amendments passed. The one that failed proposed raising the mandatory retirement age for judges in the state from 75 to 79. Voters also voted on other Travis Country and Lake Travis ISD propositions.

Voting took place at the Flawn Academic Center and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, where students had easy on-campus access to polls from Oct. 23 – Nov. 3 for early voting and Nov. 7 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The polling line extends around the Flawn Academic Center at The University of Texas at Austin on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. The line was longest after most classes finished. (Leeza Meyer/ Reporting Texas TV)

Senior Matthew McCoy said voting is a significant part of his civic duty. He encouraged people to vote early.

“Voting is one of the most important things you can do as an American. It’s our right to govern and it’s you exercising your right to elect who you are representing,” McCoy said. “You have your say in government.”

UT voting organizations such as TX Votes help students prepare for voting through registration drives and voter education presentations. TX Votes is a nonpartisan student organization that leads nonpartisan voter engagement organizations in outreach. They tabled to register students and visited classrooms for voter education.

TX Votes program coordinator Sarah Batson said the organization prioritizes students’ needs to make voting more straightforward since most students become eligible for voting shortly after entering college.

“Students don’t often get a lot of support with what that process looks like,” Batson said. “We provide guidance because this is the time when you can really solidify a habit of voting, even after college.”

Volunteers from TX Votes provided helped students prepare to vote at the Flawn Academic Center polling location at the University of Texas at Austin on Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. (Leeza Meyer/Reporting Texas TV)

Early voting turnout in Travis County was lower than 2021’s off-year election, with only 8% of registered voters participating. However, the Travis County Clerk’s office said the turnout was higher than in other recent years.

Leland Murphy, a Public Affairs graduate student, said he makes it a priority to vote in every election. He said voting at UT is more accessible than some students think.

“Texas is one of the harder states to vote in, hence why our voter turnout tends to be so low,” Murphy said. “Staying involved politically is important, and I feel UT does a good job of helping people get through that difficult process.”

The next election, which includes the presidential primaries, will be held at the same locations on March 5, 2024.

You can find more information about voting at UT Austin on the University of Texas Libraries website.

The Travis County Clerk’s Office encouraged students to vote at the Flawn Academic Center and the LBJ School of Public Affairs polling locations. (Leeza Meyer/Reporting Texas TV)