Midterm results will push voter turnout, students hope
As the results of the 2022 midterm elections came in, students and faculty were mixed in their reactions.
While various high-focus issues and a competitive governor race were expected to increase voter turnout, numbers remained below those of 2018. While this puts this year’s midterm turnout rate higher than previous years, the lack of energy disappointed many hoping for more.
“There were a lot of important issues on the ballot we expected to get more turnout on,” said political science sophomore Benjamin Rizk. “We hoped issues like Roe v. Wade and Uvalde would push people to go to the polls, but we’re happy with the people that did turnout.”
Rizk, who is co-president of Students for Beto at UH, is one of the numerous students who joined an organization on campus to push for increased voter turnout. Rizk’s organization worked closely with other groups like Next Gen UH to encourage students to vote.
While a lower democratic turnout resulted in Republican wins across the board in Texas, the predicted GOP dominance did not hold nationwide, surprising many to predict a so-called “red wave.”
“Overall the red tsunami was a pink splash at most,” said political science senior Sophia Sierra Quintero. “And I saw more passion around me for midterms than I expected. Voters were asking about propositions on the ballot and taking care to make their voice aptly heard.”
Political experts, such as Richard Murray, Dean of the Hobby School for Public Affairs, were also somewhat taken aback by the turnout. However, Murray predicts that demographic shifts are likely to bring even greater voter numbers in the future.
Murray shared that Harris County continues to change because of so many new people, which he says will make things look a lot different going forward.
Though some students were disappointed in the election results, quite a few spoke passionately about their experience trying to drive up voter turnout and said they hope to continue to be engaged in similar efforts going forward.
“The youth cannot carry an election by themselves, and the at-large Texas votes reflected that,” said political science junior Ryan Camp, who helped organize voter drives this election. “We need to stop thinking of 67 percent voter turnout as good. 100 percent should be the goal.”