University Democrats stay up all night to promote civic engagment in 2019 election

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Photo Credit: Mel Westfall | Daily Texan Staff

University Democrats pulled an all-nighter to inspire students to vote in the 2019 elections, even though it’s not a presidential election year.

“By doing this for all elections, it shows that every election matters,” classical studies sophomore Isabella Cadena said. “It’s not just presidential elections.”

The event, called Voterama, began at 9:30 p.m. Sunday on West Mall, and about 20 participants waited until 7:30 a.m. Monday to be the first for early voting in the Flawn Academic Center polling location. The organization had board games, flag football and other activities planned so attendees wouldn’t fall asleep.

“It just shows you how much we care about using and exercising our right to vote,” said Cadena, the organization’s campus director. “Other people are like, ‘Wow I admire them for that, and I respect them whether they’re Democrats or Republicans. They’re just young people who want to be active.’”

Without a candidate to put a face on the issues, it can be hard to get people to vote for propositions, said government junior Eli Melendrez. 

“A lot of money is moving around, and I don’t think people understand,” Melendrez said. “It’s hard to make that connection between your tax dollars and your say and where it’s going, but these have ramifications for people.”

 

This Novemember, Texas ballots feature constitutional amendments on income tax and cancer research funding, among others. House representative elections and mayoral elections are happening across the state as well.

Referencing Propostion 6, which would increase state funds available for cancer research, University Democrats president Joe Cascino said, “you could literally save lives with your vote.”

“It’s very, very important that people are out and staying engaged,” government sophomore Cascino said. “A lot of the local propositions affect our community and are important, so (we have to) keep people engaged.”

Melendrez said by being politically active, he can inspire other people to get to the polls and vote. While he is registered to vote in Harris County, he wanted to show up and support his friends who voted in the morning.

Despite having a 9 a.m. class on Monday, Cascino said being the first to vote is important because it shows how much students care about community issues.

“We like to show people in the political establishment that we care a lot,” Cascino said. “Even though we’re young people, we’re very, very invested in the future.”