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Student summit at Texas Capitol seeks to increase number of young voters

By Fred Cantú, CBS Austin | April 29, 2022

AUSTIN, Texas — A summit of college students is underway in Austin this weekend to increase voter turnout among young adults. The Brookings Institute estimates half of voters ages 18 to 29 voted in 2020, but young voters believe they are still being underrepresented at the polls.

In recent years young voters have had a huge say on big issues like Project Connect and the 2020 elections, and this weekend they'll be gathering here to help other young voters prepare to have their say on the issues they're going to have to live with.

The voice of young voters in the 2020 elections was hard to ignore, but the Fair Election Center has a Campus Vote Project working to make that voice even louder. Bianca Avery leads their Texas effort. She stresses the project is non-partisan, adding, “We don't care what letters are behind somebody's name or their affiliation where they're leaning in their own personal journey. We want to make sure that they are able to use their voice to cast their vote at the ballot box."

This weekend they're meeting at the Texas Capitol to discuss ways to get more college students registered to vote. Rachel Thompson is with Campus Vote Project at Southwestern University in Georgetown. She explains how the group spreads the word at her school, "We just show up in a lot of their spaces and we try and relay a message that says this is something that you need to do."

The summit will also share the legalities of registering new voters in Texas. Andy Hackett is with the Campus Vote Project at Texas Women's University. He explains, “We're all deputy registrar certified. We can register people to vote in Denton county and educate them about what ID they need to vote, when they need to register to vote, what's coming up."

Right now what's coming up is the midterm elections for Congress and statewide races here in Texas. And this group wants to be sure everyone who is eligible to vote knows just how important it is for them to register, vote, and be heard. Oscar Lazaro is a student at University of Houston Clear Lake. He explained how he learned why the project is important: “I'm a transfer student and I've had to take government a couple of times. Every time i go through it I think about how important it is for people to vote in order for our democracy to be truly representative."

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