AUSTIN (KXAN —  Data from the Texas Secretary of State’s Office shows that even with the enthusiasm young people are showing over this midterm election, many of them still aren’t showing up at the polls.

So far in early voting, only two percent of voters are under 20 years old, and only eight percent of voters are in their 20’s.

“What I would say is the tension inside the classroom is a little more than what it was four years ago,” said UT government professor Sean Theriault. “With Trump’s election in 2016, I think that conservative folks in the classroom are feeling a little bit more heat in the classroom, so I try to defuse stuff and try to get both sides the opportunity to talk.”

But even with the spirited conversation, Theriault says those students who are actually voting are fewer than those who comment in class.

“I’m teaching two different classes. One has 300 people. One has 180. The 180 kids are all government majors. They’re excited. These are the folks that are on the ground. These are the folks that are door knocking. They’re trying to get enthusiasm up among their age group,” Theriault said. “Then the class of 300, they’re across the university, various majors, various years. They’re just watching things happen. They definitely have policy preferences, but they’re not nearly as engaged as the folks in the 180 class.”

Some of the government majors in Theriault’s class of 180 told KXAN they believe their peers’ apathy comes from a lack of campaigning on the issues that matter to young people.

“A lot of the issues that get talked about don’t affect you,” said Basel Cheema. “You don’t pay taxes generally, so you don’t worry too much about that. You don’t worry too much about national defense, because it’s not your son or your daughter that’s going to be sent overseas.” 

Cheema says while he’s interested in a lot of the issues candidates are addressing,  a lot of his friends care more about those issues most Texas politicians don’t talk about as much, like student loans and climate change.

“Maybe if you’re an older person, that is an issue, that’s a can you can kick down the road,” Cheema said. “You don’t just have the luxury of doing that if you’re like 20 years old.”

“You need to be talking about student loans,” added Cheema’s classmate, Sydney Tepper. “You need to be talking about gun reform. You need to be talking about free speech. You need to be talking about making sure that we have a country to work in and that is going to be safe for our kids, both environmentally and economically.”

Theriault says another reason students vote less than other parts of the population is that they move around often. He adds that some also use their parents’ address as their permanent residence in other cities or even states. Both make it harder to keep an up to date voting status.