BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — As we approach the final hours of early voting, Texas has seen a large turnout from first time Gen Z voters, something we haven’t seen in the last two presidential elections.
Throughout early voting in this year’s presidential election, youth voters are turning out to vote here in Texas.
“It’s surprising but encouraging. We’ve seen Texas on the cellar floor in turnout for so long that to be able to see Texas rising and find so many people voting is just extremely encouraging,” says Brandon Rottinghaus a Political Science Professor at the University of Houston.
According to an analysis by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, Texas is seeing the largest gain in youth voting.
As of Friday, 753,600 youth voters have already cast a ballot in the 2020 election.
During the same time period in 2016, only 106,000 Texans younger than 30 had voted.
“People are really focusing on the youth vote. We’re seeing candidates who are dedicating individual staffers and they are really directing messaging towards younger voters and that really works,” says Rottinghaus.
In Brazos County, as of Friday morning, 13,000 ballots have been cast at the Memorial Student Center, one of the early voting polling locations on Texas A&M’s campus.
“As you know, that’s mainly used by the college students and the faculty at the College, so there has been a really high turnout out there,” says Trudy Hancock, Brazos County Elections Administrator.
For high school senior Zach Yeager, he is excited to vote in his first-ever election and says social media has played a huge role in Generation Z’s turnout.
“Especially with it being such a cool thing, they’ll put the I voted sticker on and everything. I have seen tons of people do that just because it's becoming a trend now so I think that’s kind of helping,” says Yeager.
That excitement is being felt across the state and country. Political Scientist also pointing to the demographic of the State as to why we are seeing more youth turnout than arguably ever before.
“Texas is a young state. It’s also very ethnically and racially diverse and a very urban state, that’s the future of Texas, and if you can’t get young people to vote when it's really their races to be able to determine than it’s not going to happen and the good news is, we are seeing that happen,” says Rottinghaus.
It is inevitable that the engagement from the younger generations will play a role in this year's election.
Texas has outpaced the rest of the nation in early voting with more than 7.8 million Texans already voted in this years election.