Midnight deadline approaches for Texans to register to vote

TX Votes member Grace Thomas helps a student register to vote. (KXAN Photo/Steffi Lee)
TX Votes member Grace Thomas helps a student register to vote. (KXAN Photo/Steffi Lee)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – People in Texas face a midnight registration deadline to be able to vote in the March primary.

TX Votes, a non-partisan student organization at the University of Texas at Austin, joined other organizations in the Civic Engagement Alliance getting their peers registered all of Monday. Registering online isn’t an option in Texas.

“If you don’t register right now just because you feel like you won’t vote in the elections come March or November, don’t disenfranchise yourself by stopping yourself right now,” Grace Thomas, a member of TX Votes, said.

Sophomore Alex Ramos said he learned his lesson after the 2016 presidential election.

“I didn’t go out to vote when I could have that year,” Ramos said. “I was actually eligible to vote that year. It’s important – like showing how close it was.”

Ramos registered at TX Votes’ booth, noting how the application process was quick and simple. He says he’s watching the key issues our state leaders are focusing on. For the March primary, the U.S. Senate race will be a key one to watch, along with the nine candidates vying for the Democratic bid for governor. Many of our state representatives and senators are also up for reelection.

“Being pre-med, pre-pharm, medical issues, getting medical services to people is what’s important to me,” he said.

According to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, around 1.7 million 18 to 24-year-olds in Texas are registered to vote. Research by the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement shows efforts like registration drives boosted turnout by nearly 15 percent between 2012 and 2016 at UT Austin.

Thomas said she wants to dispel any notions that votes don’t count. TX Votes and other student organizations will be helping people register until midnight on campus. Thomas said she knows not every student has decided on whom to support in the March primary, but getting a registration application in allows people to have 30 days to make their choice.

“Give yourself the extra time to make that decision,” she said. “It would really be horrible for someone to say, ‘I didn’t register to vote, but now I feel like I really want to vote.'”

For more information on voter registration visit VoteTexas.gov. 

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