This election year continues to throw the Texas model on its head. First is the record turnout. Texas is used to bringing up the rear in voter participation. Now it’s the youth vote. Texas is now leading the country in young voters.
Tuesday night Austin Mayor Steve Adler shared some research he's seen that says in the last five days of early voting more than half of the local early voting has been people under the age of 40. And that brought memories of the youth protests we've reported recently here in Austin.
In September 2019 hundreds of local high school students skipped class—some with permission—for a Climate Strike at the state capitol. They’ve also shown up in force for issues like school shootings, DACA and most recently Black Lives Matter.
They were passionate and now they're voting age. And according to a new study from Tufts University an amazing 753,600 Texans ages 18-29 have already voted early in this election. That's more than seven times the number that voted by this point in the last presidential race in 2016.
And what's bringing them to polls? According to the Tufts University poll the issues young people think are important are the environment, racism and affordable healthcare. Getting back to normal after the pandemic and police mistreatment also ranked up there.
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And today's young voters are really feeling empowered. 60 Percent agree or strongly agree they are part of a movement that will vote to express their views. 83 Percent believe-- as a group-- young people have the power to change things. And 79 percent say the outcome of this election will have a significant outcome in their community.
In other words-- its personal.