The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Brazos County sees sharp increase in voter turnout

Photo by Photo by: Alexis Will

Students wait in line for as long as two hours to vote in the primaries at the MSC

Super Tuesday packed polling stations with more citizens from around Brazos County than the past two elections.
Voting records show that nearly twice as many Republican votes were cast this Tuesday than in 2012 or 2008. According to the Office of the Secretary of State of Texas, Brazos County recorded 25,538 Republican votes this Super Tuesday compared to 13,225 votes in 2012 and 13,195 in 2008.
Not as many voters showed up to the Democratic polls as the county recorded 7,246 votes Tuesday. The county recorded 13,840 Democratic votes the last time there wasn’t a president running for re-election.
The greater turnout of voters from both parties compared to last election has led to people involved in the political world to speculate and analyze the results. A general feeling of discontent pulled more people to the polls, said Spencer Davis, columnist for The Battalion and head of Gig the Vote, an organization that encourages students to head to the polls.
“The political scene is having a reaction to itself,” Davis said. “The kind of bubbling dissatisfaction with the current political establishment, with its shorter list of accomplishments, is being reacted to by a populist base that’s trying to find any solution where in the past it was about finding the right solution.”
While there was still a higher Democratic turnout than when President Obama ran for re-election in 2012, Davis said the fact that more Republican candidates are up for election in local and national offices than Democrats likely caused voter turnout to drop significantly.
“The Democrats didn’t run a single person for the two house seats that represent Brazos County, and they only ran a handful of judges and a county commissioner,” Davis said. “That’s pretty much what was all on their ballot. The Democratic Party has less candidates, so you’re going to see less votes.”
Although there were significantly more voters in this election, there was still poor voter turnout overall. Out of the 95,397 voters registered in Brazos County, only 32,784 citizens voted. William Martinez, chair of Texas A&M College Republicans and political science senior, said the reason may be due to voter apathy and lack of proactivity. This misconstrues how conservative and how Republican Brazos County may be.
“In order for us to determine their party affiliation, they would have had to have voted in a primary,” Martinez said. “There could be more Democrats out here, but they’re not voting. That goes back to the party’s outreach to get their voters to identify who they are. Half of [the absent voters] could be Democrats, half of them could be Republicans … They need to do whatever they can to mobilize existing voters.”
Martinez said with College Station perceived as a conservative county, Democrats may be discouraged from voting or running for office. Conversely, Martinez said Republicans may be more complacent with the situation in their favor, causing them to not make it to the polls.
“When people feel that they are among other people that are friendly to their ideologies … then they tend to stay home,” Martinez said. “It’s sort of the same thing at Texas A&M. It’s generally viewed as a conservative campus.”

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