Baylor Democrats host voter registration drive amid tense national election season

Zach Tufenkjian, a sophomore political science major from Hoffman, Illinois, filled out his voter registration form for the 2020 election. Brooke Giacin | Multimedia Journalist

By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer

Local groups are trying to boost Baylor’s voter registration numbers.

Members of Baylor Democrats held a non-partisan voter registration drive on campus Tuesday. Texas’ primary election, which is open to all registered voters, takes place on March 3 with a voter registration deadline of Feb. 3. The 2020 general election on Nov. 3 will include the presidential race, Texas’ Senate election and congressional races around the country.

Shreveport, La. freshman Veronica Penales, Baylor Democrats’ vice president, was one of the volunteers at the event. Penales said that while many students’ permanent addresses are out-of-town or out-of-state, they can choose to register in McLennan County instead.

“We’re encouraging them to actually register to vote here in McLennan County,” Penales said. “They just put their Bear P.O. Box. It’s recommended that you vote in the district where you live most of the time.”

Texas residents can check their registration status online. Those still looking to register in McLennan County can fill out a form in person at the local Elections Administration Office or download a mail-in form. Registration forms may also be available at various government offices such as the post office or DMV.

According to Texas College Democrats, only 3% of Baylor students are registered to vote in McLennan County. Penales said others may choose to remain registered in their hometown or state.

“If someone asks, ‘So I want to vote for my local representative. I know them more, they impact my family more,’ we just tell them about how they need a separate card for their actual state,” Penales said. “[For registering in McLennan County] it’s just a mere change of address and they have to ensure that they put [their local] address when they’re going to go register and it’s easy from there.”

Frisco senior Lakin Hinton stopped by the voter registration table Tuesday, is looking forward to voting for the first time, but said as a graduating senior, she’ll have to account for moving after graduation.

“I’ve never voted before and there’s just a lot of things going on in our nation right now,” Hinton said. “I like Donald Trump, so I would like him to continue… I think [voting for the first time] will be super interesting.”

Tuesday’s voter registration event was planned in partnership with Project VEIR (Voter Education, Information and Registration,) a local non-partisan group. Project VEIR has previously worked with schools in Waco and McLennan County to register students.

Waco freshman Emily Mosley, president of Baylor Democrats, said her volunteers weren’t trying to be political activists, just “a group of really civically engaged students.”

“We just wanted to make sure that Baylor was getting the vote out rather than having party values placed over voter registration,” Mosley said. “The most important thing to us is that people are getting out to vote and are registering to vote rather than voting for a Republican or Democrat.”