LUBBOCK, Texas — In recent years, younger voters in Texas have been more involved in elections. According to Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, during the 2018 midterm election, 18 to 29-year-olds tripled their turnout rate from the previous 2014 midterm election where just 8.2% of young voters showed up.
Kenzie Gardner is a senior at Texas Tech University (TTU). She is a part of a student organization that keeps students informed about elections as well as helps get them registered to vote. She said she’s been surprised by the voter turnout on Tech’s campus.
“I’ve just seen a lot of students partaking in elections, which has been awesome, especially being interested in getting registered to vote,” Gardner said. “Before I came to Tech, I didn’t think that would be something that people cared about.”
For many college students, the 2022 midterms could be their first time at the polls. TTU political science librarian Tom Rohrig said historically, midterm elections have a low turnout.
“Traditionally less people vote, and I think that goes for students, although if there is a topic that really grabs them, I think there will be higher voting,” Rohrig said. “The more you know about the different candidates, you can make a more informed decision.”
If you turn 18 by election day on Nov. 8, you can register to vote. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 11.
Gardner’s student group tables on campus twice a week to register fellow Red Raiders. She said the main reason why out-of-county students can’t vote in Lubbock is that they haven’t changed their address.
“They come to college and they’re registered to vote in their hometown, then they have to change their address, whether it be their dorm or their apartment,” Gardner said.
Rohrig said some students forget that they can vote by mail in their hometown as long as their voter application is received (not postmarked) by Oct. 28.
“Should I vote in my hometown or should I vote in Lubbock?” Rohrig said. “There are plus and minuses. If you want to vote here, which a lot of people may want to do because they will be voting for a lot of local people who directly affect them. As they always say, all politics is local.”
“We should definitely get out the student vote, try to get as many people informed as possible,” Gardner said. “That way we can all make our decision, cast our ballots and let our voices be heard.”
Students can vote at two locations on campus. For early voting starting Oct. 24, Red Raiders can go to the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center (3219 Main St.). For Election Day on Nov. 8, voting will be at the Student Union Building (2625 15th St.). You must have an ID and be registered in order to vote.