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Fact Check #2: O’Rourke claims young voter turnout in Texas increased 500%

Image result for beto o'rourke on the late show with stephen colbert

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is famous for covering politics, pop culture, and anything that can be used for entertainment. On June 13, 2019, Beto O’Rourke was an invited guest to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In this interview, Colbert asks O’Rourke why he chose to run for president against Donald Trump rather than run for Texas senator against John Cornyn. O’Rourke responded,

 “In Texas we got to be a part of something special. A state that had been 50th in voter turnout, turned out to record levels; young voter turn-out in early voting was up 500%.” 

To go more in depth, Texas has always been known to be nothing more than a red state. However, O’Rourke was determined to change Texas for the better of the Texan people. 

After viewing the interview, I decided to analyze and research how O’Rourke was able to increase young voter turnout by 500%. Secondly,  I researched this claim on Politifact and found links that led to accurate data and statistics about the claim. 

Politifact’s investigation, titled Beto O’Rourke on target about scale of Democratic surge in Texas in 2018,” looks at this claim. Politifact provides statistical data by Targetsmart, a political data firm. Targetsmart has launched TargetEarly, a one-stop interactive dashboard of early voter data for 42 states. After examining TargetEarly’s data, we can see an absolute change in 2018, surging in early voting amongst all people in the United States compared to 2014. In Texas, there was 5,882,424 early young voters and in 2014 there was 2,337,430. This shows how O’Rourke’s campaign led many young Americans to vote. 

Another source used by Politifact was an article published by Citizen Truth on Medium (website that allows you to read and write big ideas and important stories) published an article “Early Voting By Young People Up 500% in Texas and Georgia, Surges Nationwide” that includes information about the positive increase in young voter turnouts. Citizen Truth is an independent and alternative media organization dedicated to finding the truth, ending the left-right archetype and remaining open-minded about other people’s point of view represented throughout the media. For instance, they mention that young turnout voters aged 18-29 could be a boost for Democratic candidate (Beto O’rourke) in the Lonestar state. 

Also, this article provides a poll by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School of Government who found data that revealed that 40% of their student body would vote during the Texas midterms and 66% of them were more than likely vote for a democrat. Another interesting statistic was the early voter demographic. In 2018,Texas shows that between the ages of 18-29 there was a 503.3% increase compared to 2014. Therefore, O’Rourke’s claim that young voter turnout has increased and indeed it has. 

Similarly, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart published an article on October, 2018 titled, “Early Vote Data Shows Young and Non-White Voter Turnout Surge” which provides information as to the increasing amount of minorities who actually decided to vote early in the 2018 election for O’Rourke. In [Texas], young voters aged 18–29 have increased their early vote rate by nearly five times or more. Hispanic turnout has surged massively in [Texas] states. This statistic proves how O’Rourke’s senate campaign was really “something special” he positively impacted many young minorities from the Texas state to take a stand against Republicanism and it is why numbers increased for the young voter turnout in his election. 

In conclusion, O’Rourke claimed that in his 2018 campaign run for senator “young voter turnout in early voting was up 500%.” His affirmation about the increasing number of young voter turnouts is backed up by data provided by TargetSmart. Also, it is backed up by Medium, who gave us statistics and a poll that was ran by a University that showed how many people were going to vote early in the election. Therefore, O’Rourke’s claim is true. 


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