Gen Z voters are crucial in elections

Andrea Olan, Copy Editor

As the 2022 Texas midterm elections are approaching, voting is becoming a popular conversation among those born between 1997 and 2012, commonly known as Generation Z. Social media has become fundamental during this year’s election, as the candidates are motivating all eligible citizens to vote. The Courier spoke with James Duran, government professor at Mountain View Campus, who gave insight on the importance on voting and the involvement of Gen Z.

James Duran
James Duran, Dallas College Mountain View Campus government professor. (Andrea Olan)

Q. How does voting work during a midterm election?
These are different type of elections. In Texas it happens more often that our midterms include voting for the governor of the state. You are also voting for U.S. representatives of the state of Texas, working in Washington, D.C. This is where you have the chance of a shift in political power. We could recognize in midterm which is a midpoint for the presidential term in office. You could have a shift from the current administration being Democrat or Congress being Democrat midpoint. You still have the Democratic president, but then you have a Republican Congress.


Q. How critical are the midterm elections this year in Texas?
Midterm election you can consider it’s like picking the person within the party that you would like to endorse, and that you would tell other people about,“Hey, you may not be interested in politics, but I found this person during the midterm elections that will represent their party, and I think you should look into it.” I think it’s pretty critical because of North America Free Trade Agreement at this point, especially within the private sector, people with access to resources, or with money or even volunteers. They may be waiting after the midterms, they could provide some resources during midterms, but some of them may wait, and they can jump all in for the general election.


Q. Why is it so important that Gen Z get involved in the voting process? What sets this generation apart from the rest?
Gen Z should get involved because the sooner you get interested and at least following politics, the more likely it’ll become a part of your identity, and if it’s early on, if it’s the very first time that you’ve been involved or paying attention to any, political elections or anything like this, your first experience from what I’ve heard usually has an impact with the rest of your life. Then the thing that sets Gen Z apart from the other generations, I would say is the how connected you guys are with each other with populations in different places across the state, across the country and around the world. I think that Gen Z, you guys are a lot bolder, which is good.


Q. Does social media impact the way people see politics in the state?
Social media again, with more internet being delivered in different places across the state, I think it connects people. People can hear a message directly from someone that’s running for office. A lot of these people that are running for office have Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

They experiment with even some that are new to the scene. It’s in their best interest also, these people, politically, if they’re not young, and hip, this is the way you communicate, this is the way you get you message out. It will be beneficial to them to get young people as part of their team to help bring that to their attention.


Q. What will drive more people to vote during this election?
This is more like a generational attitude. I don’t know if it’s something that other generations or older people in the community  tell the Gen Z, “Hey it’s important to vote.” I think Gen Z and more people recognize the opportunities that are associated with being politically involved. If younger people can recognize this, and they find the way to communicate that to the entire Gen Z and the younger generations. So that way, younger generations, if you’re old enough to work at 15, I think you should have at least some interest in politics. As far as changing a lot of the rules, well, that’s a whole other story. But you know, they can really say I like this person and I like what they want to do. Because now we’re getting to a point that as far as you know, the overall concern is climate. That actually takes center stage over everything else.  I think that this change, the attitude and the interest in politics, that kind of comes from the core, from you guys. Someone in your generation must stand up and demonstrate how important it is.


Q. Voting is a civic duty as a citizen of the U.S., yet more than 10 million people are not eligible for the upcoming elections. In what ways can the rest of the population get involved in their local and state politics?
It’s fair to hear from these people. Wherever you are, your age group, your gender, your ethnicity. It’s only fair if you’re a resident and if you’re a member of my community, my neighborhood, I would like to hear from you.

The way I see too is like some of these individuals that come in from different walks of life and different life experiences. We can definitely learn from them. We can understand what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, some of these individuals may be coming from communities that are scary to live in, so they can help provide that voice so that the rest of the community understands what to avoid, if we do not want to live in these kinds of communities.