SAN MARCOS, Texas — The 2018 midterm elections across the nation were shocking due to the increased number of youth voters compared to past years’ elections.
Even Texas State University had to expand voting hours last week on campus after being threatened by a lawsuit over early voting access. Students wanted more time to vote.
“I work in LBJ, so I saw the lines,” junior Alyssa Gonzales said. “Voting opened at 11 a.m. one day, and people were there at 7 a.m..”
According to a poll by the Harvard Kennedy School Insitute of Politics, 18- to 29-year-olds were way more likely to vote in the 2018 midterm elections compared to 2010 and 2014. Forty percent of students said they were “definitely” going to vote in this year’s midterms.
Many Texas State students acknowledge that the typical voter turnout is usually made up of older voters. However, some youth feel like the older generation is not as educated as college students on specific, current issues like climate change.
“It’s important to have a voice for issues that some of the older voters might not be aware of,” computer science major Evan Zimmerman said. “Each segment of the populous in term of age is going to have their own set of issues that they find significant, and I think things like climate change are things that are going to impact us in the long term that an older person may not consider because of the relevance to them. It’s time we realize we grew up in a different scientific and cultural atmosphere.”
Many of the youth said that they get their information about candidates and voting over social media. On Election Day, the number one trending topic on Twitter was “Beto.”
“I think that being so young, we are often influenced by the media, people we follow and relatives,” political science major Victoria Page said. “But voting does give us, being so young, a chance to experience forming our own opinions and getting a foot in the door of the political system.”
According to the same Harvard poll, 26 percent of young Americans approve of President Trump’s job in office.
The outcome from the presidential election is a factor that drove a younger crowd to the polls. Many of the youth were disappointed with the results from the last election and felt motivated to participate in the midterms.
“We saw what happened with Trump,” criminal justice major Susie Rivera said. “Nobody actually took advantage of voting. So now, they don’t want to make that mistake again.”
Even though many Texas State students are feeling motivated to vote, there are some students who feel differently. Junior Braden Schulze tries to steer himself away from politics because he gets irritated with the fighting and conflict amongst political parties.
“Last election cycle just made me so mad about all the stuff going around,” Schulze said. “So, I just try to see myself out of it. A lot of people just can’t find a leeway ground, and it’s like trying to talk to a bull. This doesn’t apply to one side or the other. It’s both sides.”
Many Texas State students will be participating in the midterm elections as first-time voters. These students are very excited to express their opinions by voting.
“This is the first election I am able to participate in and will be voting,” sophomore Matthew Schmidt said. “I am voting this election to have my voice heard and to make an impact on where I live.”
Another student who is going to vote for the first time, freshman Aleah Cockrell, said she is going to the polls because she isn’t content with today’s political leaders.
“It is important to vote to get the right people in office,” Cockrell said. “You don’t want to be the reason why someone you didn’t like to get in office just because you didn’t vote.”
Although the actual number of youth voters has yet to be announced. For updated Hays County election results, visit www.co.hays.tx.us/current-year-elections.