A record 2.4 million Texans hit the polls during the two-week early voting period.
To promote civic responsibility, the Student Government Association (SGA) sponsored an early voting shuttle to Stinson Middle School Oct. 19-21 and Oct 26-28. A total of 450 students, faculty, and staff used the service, said Carlos Cardenas, SGA, vice president external.
“The numbers are decent. They’re more than we’ve ever had, but relatively low,” Cardenas said.
The shuttle service was in lieu of an actual early voting station on campus, which Cardenas believes would have increased the turnout.
In July, the SGA and the Campus Party had petitioned County Commissioner Lyle Larson for such a initiative.
“(We realized) young people are not voting. They’re not even registered,” Cardenas said.
Larson rejected the proposal citing parking restrictions on campus, as well as the layout of the university, which he said could cause “apprehension” among voters.
Thirdly, UTSA students had simply not registered in sufficient numbers for the county to use the campus as an early voting site.
In the March primaries, UTSA had registered 631 voters. Out of those, only 21 voted in the primaries.
“We can overcome the first two objections- it is the third one that is critical,” said Campus Party advisor, Brian Johnson. “Ultimately, UTSA must have a dramatic spike in voter registration to be considered as an early voting polling site.”
The Campus Party has a total of 63 deputy registers who have registered 969 students for this election.
Johnson said those numbers do not account for students who took the initiative to register on their own. The Campus Party’s ultimate goal is to institutionalize the registration process at UTSA.
In two weeks, the SGA will push for an early voting station at the Child Development Center located on Lot 11 of the 1604 Campus. The location provides adequate parking and is easily accessible to voters from all over Bexar County.
Cardenas said that he hopes that the presidential elections have energized those registered voters at UTSA to continue voting.
“When it gets to local politics, that’s when our voice actually gets heard,” Cardenas said.
In especially tight races for City Council, a few thousand votes have been enough to change the course of the election. Students from UTSA and other local campuses could make the difference, Cardenas said.
The Campus Party will hold a registration drive in the spring.