Registering to vote should be an easy, straightforward, and open process for everyone but especially so for young people who are beginning to get their first experiences in the voting process.
In fact, numerous studies show that when young people learn the voting process early, they are more likely to continue their democratic participation later in life. It also increases the likelihood that others in their households will vote, especially among communities of color and immigrant families. Unfortunately, in Texas, there are still too many barriers to getting young people registered to vote.
For over four years, TCRP has been investigating compliance with the state’s high school voter registration law and producing detailed reports outlining widespread non-compliance and ignorance of the statute. TCRP is also partnering with groups like the Texas Organizing Project that are organizing students, parents, and faculty in high schools to hold voter registration and information drives.
Our efforts will ensure that high school students get a fair shot at participating in the democratic process and improve the state’s bottom-of-the-barrel voter registration and turnout.
This report reviews how Texas’s high school registration law works and details our 2016 assessment of compliance with the law. The report then outlines the rationale for scrapping the request process and, because that step alone would be insufficient in bringing about full compliance, suggests other concrete and common sense reforms.
TCRP’s research found that significant numbers of school administrators are unaware of their duties to register high school students who are or will be 18 years of age or older during that semester. Moreover, many who have heard about this state law do not understand the exact requirements. With the information in this brochure, principals and community leaders can help increase awareness of the law and compliance across the state.
A coalition of 8 Texas-based and national groups published a letter sent to the Texas Secretary of State calling on officials to enforce the state’s High School Voter Registration Law.
Our 2013 report presents an overview of problematic voter registration areas and suggests a series of recommendations to correct the situation based on the November 2012 national election.
Fort Worth Star Telegram: ‘Hey, guys, this is your voice.’ How Texas is pushing students to be heard
San Antonio Express-News: Texas principals failing at voter-registration mandate