Early voting begins, more than 3K students registered

Early+voting+begins%2C+more+than+3K+students+registered

Amanda Guillen , Managing Editor

The University Democrats surpassed their goal of 3,000 and registered a total of 3,170 students to vote this year, according to Jose Villalobos, associate professor of political science and advisor for the organization.

“They’ve made me very proud as their advisor and have far surpassed all expectations,” Villalobos said. “They now move into the crunch time for getting out the vote heading to Election Day.”

This is an achievement that members such as Joshua Acevedo, president of the University Democrats, deem as rewarding, especially since this organization has only been active for two months, after years of
being inactive.

Acevedo said events such as the one held on Sept. 23, where the organization and Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, set up a voter registration booth at the Union Breezeway were very important.

“I want voter turnout to increase here in El Paso and the rest of Texas,” Acevedo said. “The city sees a low turnout for most elections, and hopefully this drive will allow the future of this country to take action and become informed about the politics that affect us all.”

Like the University Democrats, the College Republicans were also attempting to register as many students as they could before the registration deadline on Oct. 6. The group took advantage of election season in order to educate students about voting policies and procedures.

President for the College Republicans, Moises Blankenship, said voter drives are important in order to accommodate potential voters.

“It is important to have voter drive events because some people don’t have time to go to the courthouse and register or just simply don’t know how to register,” Blankenship said. “By doing these drives, it makes it easier for them to register because we brought these resources to them.”

The College Republicans did not set a goal to register voters.

We are currently in talks with the University Democrats about some type of debate between our groups,” Blankenship said. “I mentioned it to the UDems’ president, so we will see what happens. Also we are helping with other candidates coming to El Paso. We already hosted a couple of events on campus. This Wednesday (Oct. 22), we will be passing out election material so people are informed on the candidates running locally and statewide.”

On Oct. 15, the College Republicans hosted an event and welcomed Republican candidate for Texas Land Commissioner, George P. Bush, to campus.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, in 2010, over a quarter of college students reported that they did not register to vote because of a lack of information, not knowing where or how to register or they missed the deadline.

The UDems are teaming up with Battleground Texas, a political action committee whose main goal is to make Texas a potential swing state.

Battleground Texas, in association with the UDems, will host a student rally at 8:30 a.m. at Leech Groove on Oct. 21 and 22.

Voting drives will be held at different locations around El Paso and UTEP. Early voting takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 21 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 22 at Union Building East, Acacia Room 102.

The drives will help students who may have questions about candidates or any additional information on the ballot. Help will also be provided for first-time voters, who may not know how to cast a ballot.

Amanda Guillen may be reached at [email protected]