Last week, student organizations MOVE Trinity, Trinity Progressives, Pi Sigma Alpha and the Texas Freedom Network worked together to use the TurboVote service to help 200 students register to vote during early voting from Oct. 20-31 or on Election Day on Nov. 4.
“We had been in communication with MOVE San Antonio since early summer,” said Amulya Cherala, president of MOVE Trinity. “We met with president Ahlburg and proposed the idea, and he was very supportive of it.”
TurboVote is a service that allows people to register to vote online within a few minutes, offering them options to select whether they want to vote by mail or to receive email or text alerts about upcoming elections and deadlines. There is a portal specifically for Trinity students set up at trinity.turbovote.org where students can go to register. This allows them to register by themselves instead of doing so with a volunteer. Students from out of state can also receive absentee ballots from the service.
Should you desire to vote and are not a student, this will require that you pay your own shipping costs for the ballot. The cost for the TurboVote partnership at the university was $500, after the program here received a grant from the Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education created to allow smaller schools to become more civically engaged.
“Many of the volunteers were from more than one organization involved,” Cherala said. “We made sure we had at least two deputized voter registrars at the table at all times, who were also students.”
Beginning last Tuesday, Sept. 23, a variety of student groups and other organizations worked together on campus to register students to vote in the Coates University Center. They aided students through the voting process using TurboVote, which was set up on iPads at the table, allowing students to register within a few minutes of beginning conversation.
After time outside Coates, the table was moved to Mabee Dining Hall in order to register more students as they came into the hall for dinner. Volunteers from the Texas Freedom Network also helped register students to vote using traditional paper voter registration cards. Overall, the total number of students
registered on the first day alone was 200. A number of other universities in San Antonio took part in a similar process, and Trinity ranked just behind the University of Texas-San Antonio in number of students registered, representing a larger percentage of the student body given the number of students at each school.
“I wasn’t expecting to register that day,” said first year Curtis Whitacre. “But I was glad that I did it.”
The volunteers at the tables included students from a number of organizations on campus, and the initiative was also heavily supported by MOVE San Antonio and the Texas Freedom Network, which worked with Cherala and Avantika Krishna, president of Trinity Progressives to secure the TurboVote partnership. Though National Voter Registration Day has passed, the organizations intend to continue the registration process on campus through Monday. Early voting begins Oct. 20, during which time you can vote anywhere within Bexar county. On Election Day, Nov. 6, you must vote within precinct 2205 if you are a student on campus.
“We ended on Tuesday with 200 and are hoping to get a lot more,” Krishna said. “People are excited about the process, as it is very quick and user-friendly, allowing anyone to take part.”