Statewide Contest Encourages Young People to Get Involved in the Political Process

Tex Elects, a program incorporating Get Out the Vote activities into the classroom, will enable middle and high school students to get involved in the political process through a statewide competition.

Tex Elects, an initiative of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation at The University of Texas at Austin, is a contest where students use their writing, illustration, filming and Web design skills to produce non-partisan campaign messages that encourage their peers and their parents to participate in the electoral process.

"As the election approaches, civics and social studies teachers are looking for compelling ways to talk about the importance of voting and elections," said Deborah Wise, senior program coordinator at the Annette Strauss Institute. "Tex Elects gives students the opportunity to use their writing, editing, filming and design skills to engage in campaign activities and learn about the political process."

Tex Elects offers four competition categories where students can write a persuasive essay, film a 60-second public service announcement, design a poster, or build a Web site encouraging their peers and parents to participate in the electoral process. In addition to incorporating Tex Elects into their civics and social studies curricula, some schools may host a school-wide Tex Elects competition or provide extra-credit to participating students.

The deadline for the competition is Oct. 17 and prizes up to $250 will be awarded to the school with the winning entry. Award money may be used to reward students with a party, purchase supplies, books, equipment, or finance a class field trip.

Tex Elects is one of several Annette Strauss Institute outreach programs designed to counter political cynicism and disaffection among young people in the United States and to create more voters and better citizens. Information about the Tex Elects program is available online.