New 2022 Data: Texas Youth Continue Trend of Stronger Election Participation

CONTACT: Carmel Pryor | Alliance for Youth Action | 

Successful efforts by youth-led organizations have helped Texas drastically improve its youth voter turnout in recent cycles. 

According to new data released by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and  Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life, 22% of young people (ages 18-29) voted in the 2022 midterm elections. That turnout rate nearly matched  national youth voter turnout estimated by CIRCLE (23%) and helped Texas continue a recent  trend of increased electoral participation. 

The estimates from CIRCLE, the preeminent national research center on youth voting, are based on voter file data aggregated by Catalist. The national turnout estimate is based on data  from 39 states for which age-specific data is available. 

Texas has had one of the most dramatic increases in youth voting in the past three midterm cycles. CIRCLE estimates that just 8% of youth in the state voted in 2014; in 2018, an election  cycle that set the bar for historic youth participation, 26% of young Texans cast a ballot. Youth  turnout in Texas also increased by double digits in the most recent presidential elections: from 28% in 2016 to 41% in 2020.

“In just a few years, Texas has risen from being one of the states with the lowest youth voter  turnout in the country to being right around the country to being right around the national  average,” said Abby Kiesa, deputy director of CIRCLE. “The efforts of campaigns and  communities to engage this critical electorate have paid dividends, but there’s still a lot of work  to do to ensure that all young people in this large, diverse state have equal access and  opportunities to participate in democracy.” 

Organizations on the ground in Texas did critical work to engage youth in the state in 2022.  

In 2022, MOVE Texas returned to in-person work after the Covid-19 pandemic and registered over 10,000 young voters for the 2022 election cycle. Our staff, canvassers, campus organizers,  chapter members, and volunteers reached out to young people who pledged to vote or join our  movement and together made: 1,978 door knocks, sent 338,017 text messages, made 235,184  phone calls, and sent 77,000 climate mailers to inform young voters about the election. As analysis showed, MOVE Texas’ registered voters turned out at double the statewide rate for  voters under 30 in 2022. Of the voters that MOVE Texas turned out to vote in 2022, about 1/3  were first-time voters and over 60% were under 30. 

We faced incredible challenges during the 2022 midterm election cycle because the state  passed anti-voting legislation the previous year that made it much more difficult for young  people and first-time voters to participate in our elections,” said Claudia Yoli Ferla, Executive  Director of MOVE Texas. “But young people showed up in defiance, despite them waiting hours  in line, and voted for the freedom to decide when and if they want to start a family, the freedom  to vote and determine their own futures, and the freedom to breathe clean air, drink clean water,  and leave behind a livable planet. Every single young person that organized and turned out to  vote across the state in this election is a testament to the determination and commitment to the  fight for a more inclusive democracy. Elections are a moment, young people are the movement.”