November 9, 2021
Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar, was named a 2021 Standout Local Election Official by a national, nonpartisan civic organization.
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge in Washington, D.C. gave the award Tuesday, Nov. 9, to Elfant for his tireless efforts to register, educate and create civic participation among students on college campuses, including the University of Texas, St. Edward’s, Huston- Tillotson, and Concordia universities and Austin Community College for the 2020 Presidential Election.
Elfant was nominated for the award by Kassie Phebillo of the University of Texas, who served as the curriculum and research coordinator at Campus Votes. “Bruce is a University of Texas icon,” Phellibo said. Elfant, a graduate of the university, is popular with students for his outreach on campus, advocacy for online voter registration and speaking up against legislative changes that make voter registration and voting more difficult in Texas, she added.
From on-campus voter registrar training to his high-visibility during campus voter registration drives, Elfant “makes students feel successful and seen,” and instills in them how they have the power to make a difference in elections, Phellibo said.
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge includes 496 institutions of higher learning representing 4.3 million students nationwide. Elfant received the organization’s first standout local official honor.
“I am so proud and humbled by this award because engaging young people to register and vote is so very near to my heart,” Elfant said. “However, while this award carries my name, I feel strongly that I am simply the representative for the village of people who make the success of campus engagement in Travis County possible.”
Elfant said he credits the Travis County Voter Registration Team, the civic engagement leaders on college campuses and the thousands of students who become volunteer deputy registrars and actively register voters on college campuses for the ALL IN organization honor. “These Travis County residents are the ones who made this award possible,” he added. “Their contributions allowed us to register 97 percent of the county’s eligible voters for the 2020 Presidential Election and train more than 7,000 volunteer deputy registrars, many of them college students, to register those voters.”
Elfant’s acceptance speech for the State Voting Challenges Ceremony available at https://bit.ly/ElfantAward.
The 2020 election cycle saw unprecedented voter registration and turnout among college students reports the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, a research arm of the Institute for Democracy in Higher Education at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. The study found that 66 percent of college students voted in the 2020 elections, a 14-point increase from 2016.
While everyone should register and vote, the top issues for elected politicians should include solutions demanded by younger voters, Elfant said. “As a college student, you can make sure the issues you care about and the future you want to have are top priorities for our country, state, county and local governments by making the time to register and vote,” Elfant said.