Sen. Kirk Watson and Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos visited Austin High School yesterday to emphasize to students the importance of registering to vote.
Primary elections in Texas begin March 6, and the two officials joined students in Rolando Duarte's senior government class to register students who are or will be 18 before the primaries.
"Believe it or not, your vote does count," Pablos told the students. "When it comes time to vote, you have to show up. Voting allows us to have a voice in the conversation and a seat at the table."
The secretary of state also told students about a recent addition to election season—the first Friday of early voting is now be Student Voting Day.
Both officials emphasized the importance of voting in primary elections, not just general elections.
Chris Cain, a social sciences teacher, helped organize the visit.
“I feel the primaries are often overlooked and they’re often more important than the general elections,” she said. “That’s where you’re picking the person who’s almost certainly going to get the job.”
Duarte said the current "interesting political times" have definitely influenced how many of his students register.
"Ahead of the 2016 election, I registered more than 100 students," Duarte said. "Before that, I maybe registered 10, 15 kids a year."
Senior Raquel Veliz said she plans to vote March 6.
“I think that it’s really important to have a voice,” she said. “These decisions affect our lives, and I think it’s really important that we have a say in that.”
See scenes from the visit in the video below: