Republicans gain control of Senate following election; TurboVote sees high student voting rate

Tuesday, Nov. 4, marked the general election voting day for America this year.  The election resulted in the selection of gubernatorial candidate Governor Greg Abbott, with 60 percent of the votes against Democratic competitor Wendy Davis. Along with Governor Abbott, Senator John Cornyn and Representatives Louie Gohmert, Ted Poe, Sam Johnson and John Ratcliffe were selected for their respective positions.

   This year on campus, the Turbo Vote system was offered to students, faculty and staff members, which resulted in 532 people signing up Sept. 23-Nov. 4.

“Our efforts were well coordinated, attended and organized this year,” said Trinity Progressives president Avantika Krishna. “It was a collaborative effort involving many students from different organizations, campus staff and administration, and the President’s Office.”

Following the Nov. 4 election, the House of Representatives and Senate both have Republican majorities. Senators serve for six years total, with a staggered vote so that a third of the seats are replenished with new members every two years. Members of the House of Representatives each serve two-year terms.

   The staggered voting system for the election of Senators accounted for these three offices being voted on at once, as the Governor of Texas serves for four years per term. Governor Abbott was elected after Rick Perry, governor since 2010, announced he would not run for the office again this year. Abbott won this election against Democrat Wendy Davis. Prior to being elected governor, Abbott was the attorney general of Texas. Before his election as attorney general in 2000, he was a Texas Supreme Court Justice.

“In the evening, we hosted a viewing party, where students were able to watch the upcoming election results from a few different media outlets while doing homework,” Krishna said.

   While there were 532 people on campus registered through the TurboVote system this year, the records displayed by the United States Elections Project noted that the overall turn-out for the general election was just over 36 percent of the eligible population. Statistically, midterm elections receive less turnout than presidential election date. The United States Census website notes that the youth population, until recent years, has shown especially low numbers of voter turnout.     In 2012, 45 percent of 18 to 29 year-old voters took part in elections.

“If dedicated voters roped their friends in to vote with them, it would create a positive pressure to join in and hopefully create an environment where voting is not only tolerated, but celebrated,” said senior Tyler Howard. “If we made voting a social event, perhaps more students would jump on the bandwagon.”

TurboVote was offered to members of the community this year in an effort to encourage them to vote consistently in the future. The new Congress will take office on Jan 5. 2015.

“Our goal is to build life-long voters and instill the value of civic engagement in the student body,” Krishna said.