During Austin ISD's graduation ceremonies, graduates walked the stage and also walked out as registered voters. Graduates were able to use the wait time before walking the stage to register to vote.
In a partnership with Travis County's Tax Office, students learned about the importance of registering to vote and voting, as well as how to seek out nonpartisan information on candidates and issues.
This year's efforts resulted in a record-breaking 591 seniors from 14 campuses registering to vote. The registration drive at graduation ceremonies began three years ago, and each year, the number of students has increased.
"We are proud to offer our graduates an opportunity to continue engaging in our community after they graduate," AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz said. "Part of preparing students for college, career, and life includes being active participants in our local community."
"We are so proud of the graduates who registered to vote, of our great partnership with Austin ISD and of our volunteer deputy registers who gave their free time to register the graduates," said Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant. "We know students who register and vote when they turn 18 are much more likely to become lifelong voters."
A 2017 study by the Texas Civil Rights project showed most Texas school districts fail to comply with the state's high school voter registration law.
"In Austin, the school district allows us to train high school principals, department heads and teachers to become volunteer deputy registrars and permits us to bring the "First Vote!" educational program that is led by Austin's League of Women Voters into high schools throughout the school year," Elfant noted. "We believe Austin ISD needs to be commended for its commitment to voter registration."