“Unprecedented” surge in voter registration makes 18-to-25-year-olds largest voting block in Travis County

Maya Patel, a junior chemistry major at the University of Texas, spoke Friday about efforts to increase young people's voter registration numbers and participation in the 2018 midterm election.

Maya Patel, a junior chemistry major at the University of Texas, spoke Friday about efforts to increase young people's voter registration numbers and participation in the 2018 midterm election.

Since the 2014 midterm election, the 18-to-25-year-old voter block in Travis County has increased by 6 percent—85,000 people—said Bruce Elfant, Travis County's tax assessor-collector and voter registrar. Young voters are now the largest voting block in the county, he said.

“This is the largest increase of younger registered voters we’ve ever documented here in Travis County,” he said. “We’re excited by what we’re seeing right now with young voters. It’s very important that young voters help shape the government that they want to see.”

As it stands, 39 percent of eligible Travis County 18-to-25-year-olds are registered to vote, he said.

At the close of the fourth day of early voting, a record-setting 10,465 people had cast ballots at one of the two polling locations at the University of Texas, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said. Students, faculty and staff are voting at the Flawn Academic Center, 2400 Inner Campus Drive, and the Perry-Castaneda Library, 101 E. 21st Street, which was added this year.



Maya Patel, a junior chemistry major at the University of Texas, said students are registering to vote in high numbers this year because of the current political environment and concerted efforts by campus groups to get young people civically engaged.

Patel is the interim president for TX Votes, a student organization at the University of Texas that aims to increase electoral participation across campus.



“Before the registration deadline we went into over 260 classrooms with the professors’ permission to register students during their class period,” she said. “We also tabled a lot, encouraged students to register to vote and [distributed] a lot of non-partisan voter information.”

Another tool Patel highlighted is the new BeVotes application for IOS devices. The app, designed by students for students at UT Austin, includes information about what to take to the polls, where to vote in Travis County and how long the lines are, said Susan Nold, executive director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

“We’ve been really encouraged this year in the widespread interest in this election and students registering to vote,” Nold said.


MOST RECENT

May 25 specifically saw 86 new coronavirus cases, the single largest one-day jump in the county during the pandemic. (Graphic by Community Impact Newspaper)
172 new COVID-19 cases in Travis County, two new deaths over Memorial Day weekend

May 25 specifically saw 86 new coronavirus cases, the single largest one-day jump in the county during the pandemic.

Skandanavia Contemporary Interiors to move to South Lamar Blvd.

Skandinavia Contemporary Interiors, a furniture store previously located on Anderson Lane, is preparing to …

Renderings show plans for a transit station as part of Capital Metro's Project Connect. (Rendering courtesy Capital Metro)
Changes to Project Connect plan add $60 million to local cost estimate

Capital Metro Board Chair Wade Cooper called the upcoming June 10 meeting to finalize the technical aspects of the plan "one of the most consequential votes this board has taken in its history."

A photo of two women walking on a trail with a quote from the story
Traditional summer outings may look different in Southwest Austin under COVID-19 guidelines to promote health, safety

Frome trails and parks to camps and water parks, here is what to expect from summer activities and destinations this season.

texas-reopening
LIST: What is open, closed in Texas and how businesses can operate

Texas openings are staggered with different opening dates and operating limits.

New Braunfels is the third-fastest-growing city in the U.S. from 2010-19, according to the latest census numbers. (Community Impact staff)
These 5 Central Texas cities are among the fastest-growing in the U.S.

Four of the five cities represent notable growth in Williamson County.

Lost Creek Limited District will begin charging a fee to enter at its entrance to the Barton Creek greenbelt. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lost Creek board explains decision to charge fee for access to its entrance at Barton Creek greenbelt

Following a May 13 meeting during which Lost Creek Limited District officials voted unanimously to begin charging nonresidents to access the greenbelt from the Barton Creek low water crossing entrance point, board members have put out information further explaining their decision.

On a nearly empty South Congress Avenue, a resident plays guitar March 25. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Unemployment rate in Travis County shoots to 12.4% in April; Austin metro jumps to 12.2%

The local unemployment rate remains below the statewide and national rates.

All patients, residents and staff at Texas' 23 state hospitals and supported living centers are to be tested for coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas to test all state hospitals, supported living centers for COVID-19

All patients, residents and staff at Texas' 23 state hospitals and supported living centers will be tested for coronavirus regardless of symptoms or exposure.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra is encouraging testing for residents. (Joe Warner/Community Impact Newspaper)
MAY 23 ROUNDUP: Top stories from this week in Central Texas

Read the most popular stories from the past week of Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of Central Texas.

With social distancing measures still in place, celebrate Memorial Day weekend from the comfort of your home with these takeout family packs. (Courtesy Hopdoddy Burger Bar)
MAY 25 ROUNDUP: Business updates from Central Texas

Read Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of Central Texas business news here.

The H-E-B located at 600 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin, will close in June. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
South Austin H-E-B at William Cannon and First Street set to close in June

The H-E-B located at 600 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin, will close in June.