voter registration

Courtesy MOVE San Antonio

A state voter registration law enacted 34 years ago by the Texas legislature is seeing scant results, largely due to low participation by the same institutions the policy aims to target: high schools.    

The little-known law addresses voter registration for eligible students – teens at least 17 years and 10 months old – and requires Texas high school principals or designees to provide voter registration information at least twice a year.

According to the Texas Civil Rights Project, six percent of high schools asked the Texas Secretary of State's office for voter registration applications in 2016. Only 198 of the state's 1,428 public high schools indicated that they requested forms, while none of the estimated 1,800 private schools across the state reported making the same request.

"Participation in our High School Voter Registration Initiative is crucial to the future of our state and the health of our democracy," Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said in a statement. "I welcome any valid input from community stakeholders and seek to work with organizations whose priorities are educating students on their civic duties and empowering them to vote, rather than engaging in misplaced political campaigns."

Norma Martinez

A voting registration campaign is underway for Hispanic Heritage Month.  It’s being driven by the Texas Victory Project – an organization that advocates for the working poor – and other local and national organizations.   The goal is to register 1000 voters statewide to increase turnout in the 2018 primary and general election.  TPR’s Norma Martinez had a chance to talk with Claudia Sanchez and Arnoldo Alonzo – political director and state director of the Texas Victory Project – about their efforts. 

David Martin Davies / Texas Public Radio

Voter registration has reached an all-time high in Bexar County.  Elections officials are now preparing for what they hope will be a record turnout, as well.

Bexar County Sees Record Number of Voter Registrations

Feb 9, 2016

Bexar County is seeing a record number of residents registering to vote before the March 1 primary for the presidential elections. 

"We are just thrilled. We’ve seen a huge ramp up in our registered voters," said Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen.

The last time the country had a presidential election with no incumbent running was 2008. There were 871 thousand 9 hundred and 16 voters registered here. Now, the country has that same kind of race and today, there are 975 thousand 3 hundred and 29 registered voters.

Voter Registration Deadline Looms

Jan 28, 2016
Chris Eudaily / Texas Public Radio

If you plan to cast a ballot in the March 1 primaries, the deadline to register is Monday. 

To register in Texas you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of the county and 18 years old. If you are mentally incapacitated, as deemed by a court of law, or a convicted felon, you are ineligible to register to vote.

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