‘Texas Rising’ Pushes to Raise Voter Turnout Among Texans Ages 18-29

by Dan Quinn

Today is National Voter Registration Day — and there are just two weeks left before the Oct. 9 deadline to register to vote in the November election in Texas. (Not registered yet? Go here.) We just sent out the following press release about our Texas Rising activists working hard across the state to get tens of thousands of new and infrequent voters under the age of 30 to the polls this year.

‘TEXAS RISING’ PUSHES TO RAISE VOTER TURNOUT AMONG TEXANS AGES 18-29

Voter Registration, GOTV Efforts Aim to Bring Tens of Thousands of New and Infrequent Voters to the Polls for November Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2018
CONTACTS: Dan Quinn, dan@tfn.org, José Medina, jose@tfn.org, 512.322.0545

On National Voter Registration Day, Texas Rising activists across the state are engaged in an intensive campaign to boost turnout among younger Texans in the November elections.

Texas Rising – a movement of young, politically engaged activists sponsored by the Texas Freedom Network – is focusing its voter registration and GOTV efforts specifically on Texans ages 18-29. The voter registration deadline in Texas is just two weeks away – October 9.

“This rising generation is more diverse and more progressive than older Texans, but elected leaders often overlook them because they are seriously underrepresented on election day,” said Rae Martinez, outreach and field manager for Texas Rising. “Getting more young adults to the polls is one of the most important steps we can take toward moving Texas forward on issues ranging from LGBT equality and abortion access to immigration reform and public education.”

Texas has one of the lowest rates of voter turnout overall in the nation – 51.6 percent in 2016, ranking 49th of the 50 states and District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Elections Project. Turnout among young Texas adults is even lower. Just 39 percent of Texans under the age of 30 went to the polls in 2016.

In communities from El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley to Dallas and Houston, Texas Rising activists have been registering and obtaining pledges to vote from thousands of under-30 Texans. For example, a drive this month on the Texas Southern University campus in Houston registered more than 600 people and brought in more than 1,000 pledges to vote in a single day, Martinez said.

Following the end of voter registration, these activists will begin working – on college campuses, in community neighborhoods and through phone banks – to turn out those newly registered Texans as well as infrequent voters at the polls for the November election.

“Making sure younger Texans are better represented at the polls this year could shift the results of close races and shake up politics in this state,” Martinez said.

Some highlights:

  • Over the past decade, Texas Rising has grown to include formal chapters and associated activists on 20 college and university campuses across the state – in El Paso, the Rio Grande Valley, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Arlington, Denton and San Marcos.
  • Since 2012, Texas Rising has registered about 40,000 Texans. An expanded field effort this year – with more than 100 volunteer deputy registrars – is adding to that total.
  • Five regional field coordinators around the state are coordinating the work of Texas Rising activists.

Key People:

Rae Martinez, Texas Rising field and outreach manager
Martinez is a queer, non-binary organizer dedicated to ensuring that Texas becomes more representative of the people who inhabit it. As a San Antonio native, they began organizing in their hometown to ensure that San Antonians got registered and out to vote, and couldn’t stop. As the field and outreach manager, they work to ensure that young people have tools they need to organize their communities.

Ofelia Alonso, Texas Rising regional field coordinator, Rio Grande Valley and El Paso
Alonso was previously a student intern for Texas Rising and worked in coalition with organizations like Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, Advocates for Youth and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes to create lasting change for her community. With Texas Rising, Alonso is dedicated to uplifting her community, a battleground for many of today’s most pressing issues, and working with young leaders in the borderlands.

Arielle Clarkson, Texas Rising regional field coordinator, DFW-Denton
Clarkson, a native of Dallas and graduate of Paul Quinn College, is committed to building a more equitable world for all people. She organizes and engages college students on civil liberty and social justice issues such as, but not limited to, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and religious freedom.

Lucius Miles, Texas Rising regional field coordinator, Houston
A former political field director, Miles came to Texas Freedom network after working on several election campaigns races and seeing the power of those that haven’t been engaged.  Miles is dedicated to not only organizing college students at Texas Southern University, Houston Community College, the University of Houston and UH-Downtown, but also building the political power of high school seniors to create lifelong voters and increase government responsibility to low-income and under-engaged populations.

Sean Ryan, Texas Rising regional field coordinator, DFW-Denton
Having recently finished his master’s degree at Southern Methodist University, Ryan now works to build up coalitions of young activist groups on college campuses across the DFW Metroplex. Through his work, he hopes to empower a new generation of young voters and activists in the state of Texas.

Oscar Tu, Texas Rising regional field coordinator, San Antonio and San Marcos
A first-generation Chinese immigrant, Tu graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio in December 2017. He hopes to earn a master’s degree from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Eventually, he wants to serve the country as a diplomat.

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Texas Rising brings together young, diverse, politically engaged activists working to build a grassroots movement for Texans under 30 through community organizing, electoral politics and public policy advocacy.

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Our to-do list this week Monday: GOTV Tuesday: GOTV Wednesday: GOTV Thursday: GOTV Friday: GOTV Saturday: GOTV Early voting starts Monday. Vote, vote, vote. #GTFOandVOTE, y'all!

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