University organizations trying to dispel low student-voter turnout

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    Senior Madee Schottleutner voted early, but said she thought she was one of few student voters making the effort.

    Schottleutner said she thought students do not vote because of the inconvenience of being away at college and not being in the correct district to vote.

    “College students are really lazy and don’t think about how [participating in elections] is going to affect them with the voting process,” Schottleutner said.

    Tarrant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn said that despite momentum of young voter participation gained in the 2008 presidential election, many college students do not vote regularly, especially in midterm elections.

    Raborn said he has seen low college student turn out since the 2008 election. He said, however, that low turnout was characteristic of all demographics during a midterm election.

    “In the off-year elections, we probably lose a little of the momentum that was gained in a presidential year,” Raborn said. “We had a lot of [student] groups contact us in 2008 and ask for outreach effort and where they could vote. We’ve not seen the same levels of activity this year.”

    In the 2006 midterm election, 25.5 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 voted, according to research conducted by civicyouth.org. The same research also showed that 48.5 percent of voters ages 18 to 24 voted in the 2008 presidential election.

    Raborn attributed low turnout of college students because they often do not realize the importance of these elections in their daily lives.

    “[National elections] are very important, but often the local elections and your state and local officials have much more impact on your day-to-day life and the taxes you pay, the fees you pay, even student tuition,” Raborn said.

    This year, university students had different reasons for deciding to participate in voting.

    “I’m voting because I think it’s really important that if you have an issue with the way the country’s run or anything like that, that you vote,” Schottleutner said.

    TCU College Democrats President Collin Yoxall said he voted because felt it was an investment in his community, state and country.

    Despite the low participation in the past two elections, TCU political organizations are trying to increase participation in the Nov. 2 midterm within the student body and the community.

    Michael Bennett, president of TCU College Republicans, said the members of the organization had been helping more than usual for this election.

    “We’re taking volunteers every week to Tarrant County GOP headquarters, we’re doing block walking for Bill Flores [and we’ve been] helping out with the Perry campaign for about the past year or so,”

    Bennett said. “We’re trying to get voter turnout especially for this year up.”

    Yoxall said the TCU College Democrats had been tabling outside Market Square once a week, but with the election so close, Yoxall said the group would begin street canvassing.

    “Street canvassing is like tabling,” Yoxall said. “You’re trying to attract voters, talk to them and get them involved.”

    Raborn said the Tarrant County Elections office is also working hard to increase student awareness about the importance of voting, including making a Facebook page to reach out to students using social media.

    Local areas to cast your ballot today from 7 a.m to 7 p.m.

    • Arborlawn United Methodist Church, 5001 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth 76109
    • Fort Worth Country Day School, 4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth 76109
    • McLean 6th Grade School, 3201 S. Hills Ave., Fort Worth 76109
    • Tanglewood Elementary School, 3060 Overton Park Drive W, Fort Worth 76109
    • St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, 2700 McPherson Ave., Fort Worth 76109
    • Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth 76109
    • Southcliff Baptist Church, 4100 SW Loop 820, Fort Worth 76109

    Bill White

    Jobs/Economy

    • Attract jobs with a future
    • Use tax dollars for incentives more wisely
    • Educate and train workforce

    Education

    • Make college education more affordable for more Texans
    • Expand pre-K programs that work
    • Improve career and technical education
    • Cut dropout rates

    Border Security

    • Fund an additional 1000 local law enforcement positions and 250 state troopers
    • Use state appropriations more effectively
    • Assist local law enforcement agencies in adopting Secure Communities

    Transportation

    • Focus on the most important goals
    • Respect local priorities and decision making
    • Developing a long term plan

    Energy

    • Diversifying sources of energy
    • Protecting natural environment

    Health Care

    • Increasing the number of covered Texans
    • Promoting stable, community-based medical practices and clinics

    Abbreviated stances from billwhitefortexas.com/issues/

    Rick Perry

    Jobs/Economy

    • Aggressive job creation
    • Record property tax reductions
    • Texas is succeeding with a strong economy and friendly business climate

    Education

    Affordable college by funding for financial aid programs totaled

    • Increased enrollment
    • College prep mandatory in high school
    • Teacher pay raises and incentives

    Border Security

    • Surge operations
    • Transnational gang initiative, in response to a rising tide of gang violence in Texas communities
    • Ranger Recon

    Transportation

    • Local control
    • Ending budget diversions
    • Help for new roads

    Energy

    • Renewable energy
    • The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan

    Health Care

    • Increased access in underserved areas
    • Protecting most vulnerable citizens

    Abbreviated stances from rickperry.org/issues