Group Formed To Increase U. Texas-Arlington Student Voting

This story was written by Carolyn Miller, The Shorthorn
University of Texas at Arlington Radio will provide music and broadcast during a university voter registration event live from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday in the University Center mall.

The Maverick Vote Coalition, a group comprised of student leader representatives from different campus organizations and clubs, will host the event. The group has collaborated to register students to vote.

Broadcast news junior Tonesha Winters said the station will give various items like goody bags with CDs, posters and bumper stickers.

"Students are still registered in their hometown and we need them to register here," Winters said. "The goal is to get students to be more active in American politics. The only way to change a community is to do something about it."

Bess Alvarez, Student Congress recording secretary and geology junior, said voter registration booths have been set up since Monday at the Central Library mall, the Maverick Activities Center, and inside and outside of the University Center.

"We want to see UTA as a polling site and we're 90 percent sure we can get it designated for the May city elections," Alvarez said.

With 5,000 students living on campus within District 5, it's a possibility, she said. The university has already been set up as the early polling location for the November presidential elections.

Tim Brown, theatre arts junior and coalition member, said the group is trying to get other students to make a difference in the upcoming city council and national elections.

"If we can get over 1,000 students to register and vote for the city council positions, then we can easily get the presidential nominees to speak at our school," Brown said. "UTA is a powerhouse as far as voting and we have the power to move mountains when it comes to elections if we unite and vote."

The radio station, in an effort to support student organizations, are trying to get the campus community involved, said Andrew Clark, communication department assistant professor.

"It's also a great opportunity for remote broadcasting experience for the staff of the radio," Clark said.

Anytime that students get together and don't depend on faculty is really great, he said. This is an important step in getting students to take the initiative to vote, said Julian Rodriguez, communication department teaching assistant.

"It's important not only in aspects of the Arlington community, but also the UTA community, which is our target audience," Rodriguez said.

SC is still working with the city and county to secure the university as an early polling site, said Collins Watson, biomedical engineering graduate student and SC president.

"If we get that and have a huge turnout by students at the May election it would lead to the UTA student body being recognized as a strong, politically influential entity," Watson said.
© 2008 The Shorthorn via U-WIRE