AUSTIN (KXAN) — Ninety percent of Travis County eligible voters are now registered to vote, Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant announced Monday.
The county expects to exceed their 90 percent goal in the final rush to register on Tuesday. That percentage amounts to 713,871 people in Travis County. The tax office says they were backlogged with more than 11,000 voter registration cards to process Monday morning.
“It is likely that by midnight Tuesday, 100,000 more Travis County citizens will be registered to vote than four years ago for the past Presidential Election,” Elfant said. “We will have the cards out by early voting, we just encourage people to be very patient with us, it’s a very paper based system and we have to enter each card manually.”
More than 3,000 volunteer deputy registrars were trained in the last year. Elfant said they deserve credit for making Travis County one of the most registered counties in the state.
One of those deputy registrars, University of Texas student Ashley Alcantara, has broken a record, registering more than 1,000 voters, more than double the previous amount recorded by a single individual.
“I’m really excited,” Alcantara said at the press conference, noting she expects UT’s registration numbers will exceed 10,000 students.
Other groups, like UT Votes have also joined in on helping get students registered.
“We have the lowest voter turnout rate of any cohort in the electorate and we have a voice too, our voice is just as important as any cohort,” Benji Martinez, president of UT Votes said. “As the youngest cohort, we’re kind of the snapshot of what the future of America wants.”
On Tuesday, UT students can register to vote on the 40 acres from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. along Speedway Road and from 6 p.m. to midnight at the UT Tower. Voter registration will also be available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at all ThunderCloud Sub shops and Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas.
Elfant says no matter who you vote for, it’s every American’s civic duty.
“Those candidates are going to take our country in very different direction and its up to citizens to decide what direction they want their country and community to go in,” Elfant says.
The main Travis County Tax Office will register voters until midnight Tuesday, launching a new electronic voter registration module. Gretchen Nagy, the tax office’s Voter Registration Division director, said a bank of self-serve computers with a printer are ready for would-be voters to fill out a voter registration form that captures their information electronically.
“They will be certified as voters in three days as opposed to five or seven,” Nagy said. However, to validate these voter registrations, applicants are required to print and sign the voter registration form before leaving the tax office.
Voter registrations forms are also available at many other businesses and U.S. Post Offices, local libraries and other government offices. Those picking up these postage-paid voter registration applications must be sure that their application is postmarked no later than Tuesday, Oct. 11.
If you’d like to make sure you are registered to vote in Travis County, click here.
Need for Election Workers
With record numbers in voter registration, election officials are also expecting record numbers of voters.
“We’re going to need extra folks because this is a presidential election and we pull out all the stops for presidential to make it as easy for people to vote as possible,” Travis County Clerk, Dana DeBeauvoir said.
Travis County is asking anyone who is registered to vote to consider applying for a job during elections. High school students over 16 years old can also apply.
“We’re going to hire this time around about 2,500 people to help us in this election and that includes people who answer the telephone, people who serve out in the field actually operating the locations and folks who drive around providing technical assistance,” DeBeauvoir says.
If you are interested in applying in Travis County, click here for more information.
New voting system proposed
DeBeauvoir announced the release of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the design, development, implementation, maintenance, and continued evolution of a new voting system, called STAR-Vote™.
“The RFP for STAR-Vote™ represents the next step in creating a new election system for the voters of Travis County” said DeBeauvoir. “We look forward to reviewing proposals that will create a cost-effective, technologically secure voting system that includes a paper back-up, which is something our voters truly desire. I believe that it will redefine the polling place by using current technology that can evolve over time as laws, voter needs, and computer systems change.”