Maya Patel is a student at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science and Arts degree in chemistry with a public policy certificate. Maya is passionate about civically engaging students through TX Votes and works on LGBTQ+ equality, reproductive justice, and voting rights through Texas Rising.
With the 2018 midterm election approaching, over 75 students from 35 universities and community colleges across Texas gathered in Austin, Texas for the Texas Voting Summit by TX Votes, a student organization sponsored by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin, Campus Vote Project, and Campus Compact’s The Democracy Commitment. TX Votes invites students to increase electoral participation and create more voters and better citizens. Each election cycle, TX Votes, in partnership with the Annette Strauss Institute, organizes and coordinates Get Out the Vote activities including registration booths, deputization sessions, and campus competitions. During off-year election cycles, TX Votes educates the UT community on voter registration, education, and turnout tactics, and engages in respectful and civil discourse on important issues.
The 2018 voting summit was an opportunity to help students from all kinds of Texas universities create or further develop campus plans to increase voting and civic engagement on their campus. During the summit we heard from numerous speakers including Keith Ingram, the Director of the Election Division of the Office of the Texas Secretary of State, Dana DeBeauvoir, the Travis County Clerk, students doing exemplary work, the League of Women Voters, and national partners from the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tuft’s University, Campus Vote Project, Campus Compact, Young Invincibles, and the ALL IN Challenge. In addition to speakers and group discussions, students and professionals working in the field were able to network after the event. Students have already worked together on a video competition, bounced around ideas about campus plans, shared best practices, and connected to host volunteer deputy registrar trainings.
The voting summit was a wonderful opportunity to network , share, and learn about the many national resources available for democratic engagement work. I especially enjoyed the Texas Voting Summit because we were able to talk about the unique issues we face in Texas doing this work and how to combat the barriers that make our work especially difficult.
The Texas Voting Summit & Network are made possible by a Young Invincible’s Students Learn Students Vote Coalition Subgrant.