Article Originally Published 3/9/20 at The Daily Texan
Arriving at a UT polling location 10 minutes before it opened, business honors freshman Michelle Zhang thought she would beat the large crowd of voters on Super Tuesday. Instead, Zhang said she was greeted with a long line of students waiting to vote and had to wait about half an hour before doing so.
Students at UT-Austin and UT-San Antonio said they waited up to two hours on March 3 to vote in the primary election. Meanwhile, UT-Arlington did not have any on-campus voting locations on March 3.
The Flawn Academic Center and the Perry-Castañeda Library were UT’s two Super Tuesday, on-campus polling locations, open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Zhang said she was shocked to see a line of voters wrapped around the building at 6:50 a.m.
“I didn’t expect it to be that busy,” Zhang said. “They had to process a lot of people, and there were only three to five people processing (IDs), so it took some time.”
Zhang said she skipped early voting to avoid voting for a candidate who would drop out before Super Tuesday.
Because she lives on campus, Zhang said voting at UT is most accessible for her.
“If you live off campus near an off-campus voting center, go there rather than on campus,” Zhang said. “If you have a car and the ability to go somewhere off campus, please make room for people who can’t.”
While Zhang only waited about 30 minutes, physics freshman Hebah Goderya said she waited an hour to vote at the FAC last Tuesday.
“It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes,” Goderya said. “I went at 12:30 p.m., and the line wrapped around the outside of the building all the way to the other entrance.”
At UT-San Antonio, electrical engineering senior Brian Canales said he waited two hours to vote at the campus’ only location last Tuesday.
“As soon as you walk in, you see a really long line,” Canales said. “Some people just let out a sigh and turn around and leave. Some … started walking around to realize that’s only half the line.”
Canales said opening more polling locations at UTSA and hiring more staffers would alleviate long waiting times for voters.
“There was only one person taking IDs, so they were taking one at a time, and I thought that was ridiculous,” Canales said. “If they had two more people, it would have gone by faster.”
At UT-Arlington, there were no on-campus voting locations for students last Tuesday, said Gavin Mitchell, student body president and information systems senior. Mitchell said although the campus hosted early voting, he wishes the university had a location open last Tuesday.
“The more access to polling locations for UTA students, the better,” Mitchell said. “Not having a polling place has the potential to limit those who either live on campus and have transportation of their own or keep those with hectic schedules from finding the time to vote.”
Mitchell said it is important for young voters to have easy access to voting.
“Young people are working harder than ever to secure a better life for themselves, so there’s less time in the day for them to go to the polls,” Mitchell said.
Cover Photo Credit: Alice Liu, Daily Texan Staff