HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – Democrats won all but one race in Hays County. They flipped several seats previously held by Republicans.
But how did a county that was majority red turn blue?
Elle Cross with local advocacy group Mano Amiga said part of that is thanks to the group’s effort to mobilize young people to vote.
The group registered more than 1,000 Texas State University students to vote for the 2022 midterm elections.
“It brought so many new voters to the polls,” Cross said.
It’s a number she said helped the group pass its measure on the San Marcos ballot to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession in the city.
“Prop A got over 1,000 more votes on it than any of the other city elections. That just goes to show so many people showed up to vote just to vote for marijuana decriminalization,” Cross said.
Student voter turnout is something Texas State Political Science Professor Bill DeSoto said made an impact on this election in Hays County.
“The mobilization efforts, right students working just relentlessly. You know, knocking on every door,” DeSoto said.
He said along with college students, another factor is more people moving to the area.
“The increasing urbanization, maybe people leaving from Austin. Like in Buda, Kyle and San Marcos, you have a larger population centers than in the western part, and those areas have been trending democratic,” DeSoto said.
It’s turned what were a majority of red seats before the midterms to a sea of blue.
Cross believed their efforts played a role in making that happen.
“With this blue wave that we see with so many new people in office, we believe we did have an impact on the down ballot implications of this,” Cross said.
Four out of the ten county races flipped from Republican to Democrat. But DeSoto said when looking at the wider lens of Texas as a whole, there’s still very much a majority of Republican led counties.