“Unprecedented” surge in voter registration makes 18-to-25-year-olds largest voting block in Travis County

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Since the 2014 midterm election, the 18-to-25-year-old voter block in Travis County has increased by 6 percent—85,000 people—said Bruce Elfant, Travis County’s tax assessor-collector and voter registrar. Young voters are now the largest voting block in the county, he said.

“This is the largest increase of younger registered voters we’ve ever documented here in Travis County,” he said. “We’re excited by what we’re seeing right now with young voters. It’s very important that young voters help shape the government that they want to see.”

As it stands, 39 percent of eligible Travis County 18-to-25-year-olds are registered to vote, he said.

At the close of the fourth day of early voting, a record-setting 10,465 people had cast ballots at one of the two polling locations at the University of Texas, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said. Students, faculty and staff are voting at the Flawn Academic Center, 2400 Inner Campus Drive, and the Perry-Castaneda Library, 101 E. 21st Street, which was added this year.

Maya Patel, a junior chemistry major at the University of Texas, said students are registering to vote in high numbers this year because of the current political environment and concerted efforts by campus groups to get young people civically engaged.

Patel is the interim president for TX Votes, a student organization at the University of Texas that aims to increase electoral participation across campus.

“Before the registration deadline we went into over 260 classrooms with the professors’ permission to register students during their class period,” she said. “We also tabled a lot, encouraged students to register to vote and [distributed]a lot of non-partisan voter information.”

Another tool Patel highlighted is the new BeVotes application for IOS devices. The app, designed by students for students at UT Austin, includes information about what to take to the polls, where to vote in Travis County and how long the lines are, said Susan Nold, executive director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

“We’ve been really encouraged this year in the widespread interest in this election and students registering to vote,” Nold said.

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  1. Unlikely the youngster even know why they are voting its mostly following someone else’s agenda and 4 years later realizing you got bamboozled

  2. 18 year olds were given the right to vote during the Vietnam War with the 26th Amendment. I’m sure those youngster knew they were being bamboozled by Washington DC to fight a false war without the right to vote.

  3. I have voted since I turned 18 and have diligently researched the candidates and issues for every election and we need to teach the younger generation as well. I am excited that the younger generation is exercising their right to vote and have their voice be heard!

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Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Jackson Buchanan is the editor for the Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from The University of Texas.
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