Rowdy Vote registers student voters

Rowdy Vote registers student voters

Katelyn Wilkinson

Several student organizations have teamed up to form Rowdy Vote, a non-partisan coalition dedicated to increasing student voter turnout for the presidential election in November.

The idea for Rowdy Vote came from Coogs Vote, a voting coalition at the University of Houston. The coalition at UTSA is comprised of several student groups including the Secular Student Alliance, Intersections, Mexican American Studies Student Organization, College Democrats, College Republicans, Student Government Association, MOVE San Antonio and Texas Rising.

The coalition registers voters, provides voters with polling information and hosts events, such as on-campus block walks to encourage voter participation.

Sophomore Sean Rivera, a multidisciplinary studies major and the president of the Secular Student Alliance, said his organization has been registering voters for a while, but alone the group has not had the success Rowdy Vote has had.

Rivera explained that he registered about 40 students in a month of tabling with only the Secular Student Alliance. However, the combined organizations of Rowdy Vote registered approximately 35 students in a single day.

“There is no doubt that we will increase voter involvement on campus more than any single organization ever could. I’m happy that we have the opportunity to join together and do this as a team,” Rivera said.

Since its first tabling session a month ago, Rowdy Vote has registered 51 students. Rae Martinez, an organizer for Texas Rising, said Rowdy Vote is so effective because of its peer-to-peer communication.

“When students at UTSA talk to each other about voting, as peers, and when the information about voting is easily accessible by the student body, student voter participation will increase,” Martinez said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 25 percent of 18-24 year olds in Texas voted in the 2012 presidential election, nearly the lowest voter turnout rate for this age group in all 50 states. Rowdy Vote seeks to increase this number.

Bryant Andrade Meza, a senior political science and Mexican American studies major and the president of Intersections, said that Rowdy Vote encourages voting among students who are uninterested by providing information about candidates, registering voters and training others to register voters.

In short, Rowdy Vote makes it easier for students to vote by providing them with the information and tools necessary for voting.

“This coalition will definitely have an impact,” Meza said. “There’s power in numbers, and I honestly feel that we as a coalition have the people power to create the change people talk about doing through voting.”

Rowdy Vote has planned several events: a volunteer deputy voter registration training (April 5) tabling (April 20) and a block walk (April 23.)

UTSA will have an early voting site for the November elections.