AUSTIN (KXAN) — This election is unlike any other. There are a record-breaking 15 million registered voters in Texas. Travis County is preparing for more people than ever before to hit the polls. Next week the Travis County Clerk will announce some new initiatives to manage all the people expected to turn out. This includes an awareness campaign to increase early voting numbers as well as getting extra equipment and staff, including local high school students.
“I definitely think that the younger generation really wants a say in this presidential election,” Anderson High School senior Olivia Gonzales said.
Gonzales and her friend Caylee Stephens both have things to say about the presidential election, but they’re too young to have a say at the polls.
“Our next four years are very critical. We’re going to be attending college and looking for jobs and I think like the next president, that’s going to determine how our future looks. So it’d be nice to have a say in that,” Gonzales said.
A program through the Travis County Clerk’s Office allows high school students 16 years old and older to still get involved, hiring students as poll workers to shed light on the electoral process. It’s an opportunity Gonzales and Stephens told KXAN they’d like to learn more about.
“I think it’s really interesting to hear people my age talk so strongly about the debate and issues regarding the debate,” Stephens said.
Any student who is at least 16 years old and has consent from a parent or guardian and principal is eligible to serve as an election clerk. The position pays $10 an hour.
New polls show a tighter presidential race in Texas this election than it has been in decades. A new poll from Survey USA and WFAA-TV shows Donald Trump is only up four points ahead of Hillary Clinton. At the beginning of the month- A KTVT-CBS 11/Dixie Strategies poll from Dallas had Trump up 7 points. Last month’s Texas Lyceum Poll counted only a six point difference.