As election day for the primaries approaches, many people are making plans to head to the polls and cast their vote for presidential candidates and candidates for other state and local positions. With early voting and election day polls being located on the Texas Tech campus and other parts of the Lubbock community, one may wonder how engaged college students are in voting in primary elections.
In the 2018 U.S. midterm election, voter turnout among the age group 18 to 29 remained the lowest but had the largest percentage point increase from any age group from 2014 to 2018, according to United States Census Bureau website.
Tom Rohrig, Tech personal librarian for political science, said when individuals vote, they are taking part in the political process and helping decide how the government is run.
“This election year, voter turnout may be higher as we’re in a presidential election year,” Rohrig said. “Primary elections are very important because this is where you start the process.”
As a primary voter, Rohrig said one gets in on the ground floor of helping to elect people that will be representing one’s party.
“When voting, it is important to get a feel for what the candidates’ views are,” Rohrig said. “Once you educate yourself, it is good to evaluate how you think about their views and how this is going to impact the government.”
Rohrig said he is an active board member of the League of Women’s Voters of Lubbock County.
“The League of Women’s Voters is a good resource to learn more about local candidates and their beliefs,” Rohrig said. “The League of Women’s Voters believes that citizens should be active in their government.”
The League of Women’s Voters does not support any political party or candidate, Rohrig said. Their goal is to encourage people to vote.
For additional information, visit the League of Women’s Voters of Lubbock County’s website.
Whether it be in Lubbock or on the Tech campus, there are a variety of opportunities for students to vote and get engaged in politics and elections
Davy Davison and Jenny Turnbell, election workers for the Lubbock County Elections Office, said they have helped Lubbock locals and students place their primary vote at the Tech Recreation Center.
“I was surprised at this location the lack of student voters that we have had,” Davison said. “Most students are not registered to vote.”
Texas is fourth on the list of lowest 2020 registered voters. Of the Texas population, only 55.20 percent are registered to vote. Low registration rates generally lead to a low voter turnout, according to the World Population Review.
Davison said it is important that students register to vote, even if they are only in Lubbock for four years. It is important to register where one is at.
“It is important to be informed on when the registration dates are,” Turnbull said. “Usually, you have to register at least like three weeks before.”
In 2016, Texas turnout rate was 24.7 percent, and the state with the highest turnout rate in Wisconsin with a 49.4 percent turn out rate, according to the United States Election Project.
Wisconsin has 70 percent of the population registered to vote, according to World Population Review.
Turnbull said if a person is not registered, but eligible to vote, they may still vote. However, there is paperwork that will need to be filled out, and there is a chance the vote may not count.
“The reason why students need to vote is that they are voting for their future,” Turnbull said. “The younger generation has a longer future than other generations, so if they don’t vote, they can’t complain about how the future sucks.”
Davison said on March 3, Lubbock County Election Office workers will be operating polls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tech library South Croslin room for the final primary election day.
“There is usually a large number of turnouts for the primaries,” Davison said. “There’s not a large turnout for this primary at all.”