KXAN-TV in Austin reports that as the impeachment trial was getting underway in Washington, online searches within Texas for “impeachment” were way up in some surprising, and not so surprising, places. They include Austin, Lubbock, Odessa/Midland, Corpus Christi and Victoria.
If voter registration patterns are any indication of interest the impeachment story, people are engaged. The number of people registered to vote in Texas has hit a record high of 16 million, ahead of Texas party primary elections in March.
Jeremy Wallace covers the statehouse for Hearst newspapers in Texas -– the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News. He says about 1 million more Texans are registered to vote than in 2018, when Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz conducted their high-profile Senate campaign.
“We’re almost about 2 million more voters than we had four years ago during the presidential race,” Wallace says. “It’s almost like we added Connecticut – all of their voters in the state of Texas in the middle of a presidential cycle.”
Wallace says the trend has been on the upswing since 2014. Democrats were frustrated by what they saw as state rules intended to keep voter registration numbers low in a Republican-controlled state. Despite dramatic population growth between 2002 and 2012, voter registration grew at an anemic rate.
“People outside of Texas, particularly, were looking at that and going, ‘How do we get into this and fix this?'” Wallace says.
In 2014, Democratic groups accelerated their work to increase their numbers in individual counties, in spite of rule that throttled the state’s voter registration numbers.
“Even Republicans have acknowledged that the work [Democrats] have done in places like Houston … really shows that the voter registrations are growing so much faster than even the population now — that it shows that they’re finding those voters that they thought should have been registered before,” Wallace says.
Democrats tell Wallace that younger voters make up a substantial number of the newly registered.
“I think it was about one-third of all new registers are under 25,” Wallace says. “And younger voters are skewing Democratic right now.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.