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Groups At U. Texas Register 5,000+ Ahead Of Deadline

This story was written by Julie Horwitz, Daily Texan

After a daylong, campus-wide voter registration drive Monday, Hook the Vote, a coalition of University of Texas organizations, had registered 5,656 voters by the midnight deadline.

We are very, very pleased, said Taylor Ellison, Student Government external financial director and Hook the Vote co-director.

University Democrats spokesman Andy Jones said this is the first time this many diverse student organizations came together to achieve such a campus event.

There is everything from athletic organizations to sororities to cultural organizations participating, Jones said. It is the scale and scope of the event that makes it unprecedented.

Jones said only one or two organizations have been involved in past voter registration drives. At this years drive, which included Student Government, University Democrats, College Republicans at Texas, UT Votes and the Student Events Center, 25 organizations manned 25 tables around campus.

This is the largest voter registration effort in the history of UT, said Jimmy Talarico, vice president of University Democrats and co-director of Hook the Vote. Never before have we tried to reach out to students in this way.

Many of the students manning tables said registration numbers were high-- students had registered 3,500 voters by 5:20 p.m.

Each table was given 100 voter registration cards, and just today I think we have already made it up to the thousands, said public relations senior Hannah Meadows.

Organizations shifted from tables around campus to a free concert at Gregory Plaza at 7 p.m. to continue registering voters until the midnight deadline. Guest speakers at the concert included state Rep. Rick Noriega, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, and UT quarterback Colt McCoy.

Liberal arts sophomore Taylor Murphy, co-chairman of UT Votes, said the concert provided a good opportunity to remind students of the importance of voting.

We are holding the concert in order to get different people involved in the voting process, Murphy said. Also, we have to stay until midnight because its the deadline, and we want to celebrate this monumental election.

For many students, the multiple tables set up around campus made registration more convenient.

I decided this is the last day and my last chance, and I am going to take it, said psychology senior Jessica Holder. If it wasnt this convenient for me, I dont think I would have taken the initiative.

After registering Monday, natural sciences freshman Ted Delgado will vote for the first time.

It is important to be able to choose who is running our country and what benefits we will get from our candidate, he said.

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