By Thalía Guzmán
Pulse Staff Reporter
Voter registration rates in Texas have grown to a record-setting 15.6 million citizens in this midterm election, but it remains to be seen how many will actually cast their ballot on November 6.
For young voters, it is important for them to be able to connect with the candidates before they commit to casting a ballot.
“Maybe people don’t like the candidates who are running. Don’t do it unless you know more info about the people who are running,” said Sydney B. Gonzales, a 19-year-old Biology/Pre-Nursing major at Palo Alto College.
According to the Houston Chronicle, 1.6 million people have registered since the last time Texas held a midterm election in 2014, said Texas Secretary of State Ronaldo Pablos.
On this year’s ballot, Incumbent Greg Abbott, a Republican, and ex-sheriff Lupe Valdez, a Democrat, are in the running for the Governor of Texas. Abbott will champion the protection and prevention of human trafficking and sexual assault crimes. Valdez wants equal pay for equal work.
“We could have the power to bring the country where it needs to be; I feel like the older generation just doesn’t care,” said Juan Herrera, a 23-year-old Business student at Palo Alto College who strongly supports Millennials speaking up about their needs.
Congressman Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat, and Junior Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, have worked tirelessly to gain the approval of young voters in this non-voting state of Texas.
O’Rourke believes in investing in people. He wants to extend medical benefits to low income Texans and create access to universal health care for the state.
“In this deeply divided and highly polarized movement, before we are Republicans or Democrats or Independents, we are Texans. We are Americans. We are human beings and we’re going to start acting that way,” said O’Rourke during the first televised debate in Dallas on Sept. 21, 2018.
O’Rourke has not taken any money from Political Action Committees (PACS), meaning corporations or special interest money.
Cruz supports the building of a wall along the Mexico border and deportation of Dreamers.
“We need to do everything humanly possible to secure the border. That means, building a wall. That means, infrastructure. That means, boots on the ground. And we can do all that at the same time that we are welcoming and celebrating legal immigrants,” said Cruz at the same debate.
On the topic of gun laws, O’Rourke supports the Second Amendment along with extensive background checks. Cruz supports more security for police officers with the addition of firearm protection in schools.
People who have never been politically engaged or even knew who was in the running are now paying attention.
“My vote is going to stay on Beto. He is helping those in need,” said Jose Herrera, a Kinesiology student at Palo Alto College.
Another Texas race to watch this year is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District. Incumbent U.S. Representative Will Hurd, a Republican, and his opponent, Gina Ortiz Jones, a Democrat, are vying for the seat. Both candidates have covered topics on immigration, Russia’s interference with the U.S. elections, and gun control.
Early voting begins on Oct. 22. Election day is Nov. 6. To learn where to cast your ballot, visit https://www.votetexas.gov/ For more information on the candidates and issues, visit https://my.lwv.org/texas/voters-guide