NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Early voting lasts until November 2, but officials are expecting more than half of Texans to cast their ballots before Election Day. But … how many of those votes are coming from the younger generation of voters.
East Texas News visited with several Stephen F. Austin State University students Wednesday to find out if they plan to participate in the 2012 presidential election.
SFA student Karina Erickson, who is with Young Conservatives of Texas' SFA branch, is headed to Virginia tomorrow to campaign for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
"We're going to be walking the blocks of Virginia encouraging people to vote for Romney, making phone calls, and placing signs," Erickson said.
Erickson believes college students should take on an active role in this year's election.
"There are all sorts of different issues that are approaching us that are involved directly with college students' lives, so we need to go out and make a difference," Erickson said.
Ken Collier, a government professor at SFA, said the 18 to 25 age group was overlooked in the past but this November their votes could make all the difference.
"High school kids that are old enough to vote and the college students are a group that campaigns really thought they could ignore because their turnout was so low," Collier said.
Collier said that in the 2008 election, young people ages 18 to 25 made a huge impact in the final results, but in this year's election, polls show that many are undecided.
Rose Henderson, a junior at SFA, said she doesn't plan on voting. She said when voters cast their ballot, it should be an educated decision. Henderson said that she and many of her peers don't know enough.
"I think mostly because of their parents, they feel like they are a Democrat or a Republican and they vote, but they don't necessarily know the issues or the candidates," Henderson said.
However, SFA officials said they host political forums to give students the information they need to make the decision they feel is best for them.
"If you are going to go out and vote, understand why you're voting but even more so educate yourself on how it will affect you," Dennis Hagans, the SFA student body president, said.
Collier said students should take advantage of their freedom to vote, and once they get into the habit, it will continue for a lifetime.
"If you don't vote then you don't get to complain," Erickson said.