Texas Tribune Leads Discussion Ahead of 2024 Elections
Mar 21, 2024

Texas Tribune Leads Discussion Ahead of 2024 Elections

Reporting Texas TV

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Tribune hosted a panel of experts on Feb. 21 to discuss key issues and races up and down the ballot for this year’s election, and why young voters aren’t going out to the polls.

Compared to a 25.3% turnout in the 2020 primaries, 18% of registered voters cast ballots on Super Tuesday. Experts say candidates are focusing on issues that will appeal to the older demographic instead of issues like climate change or abortion rights which often mobilize young voters.

According to a 2022 report by the Bipartisan Policy Center, 80% of eligible voters do not participate in midterm primary elections but some may be mobilized by particular candidates, including former President Donald Trump and former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke.

“Last presidential election, everyone I know was voting because everyone knew Trump had to be ousted from office,” UT sophomore Madeline Beard said.

“Lately, I’ve seen more people giving up because they know that Republicans sure as hell don’t represent their interests. But Democrats don’t really either.”

Campaign signs fill the West Mall at the University of Texas at Austin on March 4, 2024. The Peter T. Flawn Academic Center is one of two polling locations on campus. (Haley Pacheco/Reporting Texas TV)

UT junior Erin Cobb said her peers are losing interest.

“I think it can take a lot of energy to be invested in the political process and a lot of energy that students don’t have,” Cobb said.

Harper, the Texas Tribune reporter, said young voters can be a driving force in elections.

“Primaries are often kind of ignored for the very reason that that’s not where their choice should be the young voters show up to the polls, they’ll find out that the politicians will start paying more attention to them on the trail,” Harper said.