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As 'Deputy Registrars,' Principals to Help High School Students Register to Vote

KUT News
As 'deputy registrars,' school principals can help with the voter registration process.

Today is National Voter Registration Day. And when it comes to getting people to sign up to vote, the focus is often on young people.

Texas had one of the worst young voter turnout rates in the 2012 election — just about 30 percent of those eligible under the age of 30 voted.

But there’s a state law on the books trying to reverse that. And some school districts are just now utilizing it.

For more than 20 years, Texas law has designated school principals as “deputy registrars.” This person helps eligible 18-year-old students register to vote by handing out registration cards and dropping completed ones off at the county election office.

Alicia Pierce with the Texas Secretary of State office says it’s not to be taken lightly.

“When you accept and review a registration, you’re holding the power of someone’s vote in your hand, right? You have the responsibility to make sure that it’s correct and that it gets to the registrar.”

The Austin Independent School District says this is the first year its staff has received training on what’s expected of a deputy registrar. Schools within the district will now make voter registration part of every senior’s social studies curriculum – giving eligible students a chance to register in class. The deadline to register to vote in this November’s election is Oct. 5.

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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