I circle the start of early voting every year on my calendar, put yard signs in my yard or windows and compile meticulously detailed voter guides for myself and others. When I was living in Boston, I would check my mailbox three times a day waiting for my absentee ballot. Now that I live in Austin, I make a special trip home just to make an appearance at the West Gray Multiservice Center in order to cast my ballot. Of course, I am an anomaly among other young people, to say the least. Most young people do not give anywhere near that much thought or devotion to politics in any way. In fact, most do not even bother to vote.
I have opined in the past that this is due to laziness, but voting for students in particular is actually somewhat complicated. Ambiguity over actual places of residence leads to a lot of confusion over where one should vote. Absentee ballots are notoriously unreliable. Thus, I have devised a new proposal for how voting should be conducted among young expatriates in school throughout the State. I hope this proposal may be spread far and wide, and specifically wish for it to find its way across the desks of State Legislators so that they may introduce the requisite changes in law next session. I would reckon a pilot program should be put in place specifically at UT-Austin (throughout Travis County) in preparation for the 2016 elections, with expansion to other big colleges (A&M, University of Houston and Texas Tech) in the following years.
The gist of my idea is to allow for in-person early voting to take place, in these limited circumstances, outside of the county. Accordingly, students would not be forced to change their voter registration or vote absentee once going to college. Under this new system, one voting machine from each of the five biggest counties outside of the capital (Harris County, Dallas County, Bexar County, Tarrant County and El Paso County) would be brought to a specially denoted early voting location close to UT’s campus. Student voters would have to provide a driver’s license, which would then be swiped on the computers for expediency, and the rest would follow the procedures used for early voting within the county.
Thus, a legal fiction would occur, wherein the exact same process would happena to have in-person early voting for your county, except it would actually happen 80 to 580 miles away. Unfortunately, this could only apply (at first) to those in the biggest counties and those with a Driver’s License. However, given that those variables represent a majority of the State, it would certainly be a good start.
Would this cause you to start looking at voting more favorably?