As Texas GOP Tries to Limit Voting, Turnout Analysis Reveals Continuing Surge of Young, More Diverse Texas Voters in November Election

A new analysis from Texas Rising Action shows the Texas electorate is getting younger and more diverse. So it’s not a surprise Republicans are trying to make voting harder. Check out our press release today.

Texas Rising Action Reached Nearly 2 Million Young Eligible Voters in Massive GOTV Drive in 2020

March 17, 2021

As Republican lawmakers push legislation making it harder to vote in Texas, a new analysis from the Texas Freedom Network/Texas Rising Action shows the closest presidential election in Texas in decades came as turnout among young eligible voters surged and became even more ethnically and racially diverse across the state.

“It’s clear now that young voters, especially voters of color, have been a huge part of historic spikes in turnout in 2018 and then again last year in Texas,” said Texas Rising Action Director Rae Martinez. “The electorate is becoming younger, more diverse, and more progressive. Elected officials and future candidates who ignore this rising generation of voters will do so at their own political risk because this wave hasn’t crested yet.”

The overall turnout rate in Texas jumped from 56 percent in 2016 to 68 percent in 2020. Behind those numbers:

  • The electorate was younger. The number of voters ages 18-29 increased by about a half-million in 2020 over 2016. They accounted for 14.13 percent of the total vote, more than double their 2014 share and up from 12.83 percent in 2016.
  • The electorate was more diverse. Voters of color made up a little more than 32 percent of the overall electorate in 2020, up from just under 30 percent in 2016 and only 24 percent in 2014. The increase was driven especially by higher turnout from Latinx and Asian American voters.
  • The younger electorate was especially diverse and becoming more so. The percentage of voters ages 18-29 who were people of color increased to 43 percent in 2020, up from about 39 percent in 2016 and less than 33 percent in 2014.

Texas Freedom Network made the decision more than a decade ago to focus on increasing the influence and turnout of young voters via its Texas Rising program, TFN President Val Benavidez said.

“Eligible young voters are an awakening electoral giant in Texas,” said Texas Freedom Network President Val Benavidez. “Putting resources into turning these more progressive voters out at the polls in election after election can have a big policy payoff. That’s one big reason why we’re also fighting efforts in the Legislature to make it harder for Texans, especially new voters, to cast a ballot. Change is coming.”

Despite limits the COVID pandemic put on field operations, Texas Rising Action executed an expansive get-out-the-vote campaign focused on eligible voters under the age of 30. Hundreds of paid field staff and volunteers used texting, phone-banking and email to contact about 1.8 million eligible young voters, the majority being young Texans of color.

With its first chapter at the University of Texas at Austin established in 2007, Texas Rising Action has a presence on nearly 20 college and university campuses around the state today. The program focuses on helping young people build their advocacy skills, organize peers in their communities, and register and turn out at the polls more eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29.


Texas Rising Action, a project of the Texas Freedom Network, builds the power of a rising generation of young Texans, with an emphasis on communities of color, by advocating for change in the cities and towns where they live and at the ballot box.