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Super Tuesday is here! Professor says millennials a key factor in vote

National Latino Outreach Strategist Cesar Vargas speaks about why he supports Bernie Sanders and what he can do for America at a Bernie Sanders outreach event at Luciano’s in Edinburg last Friday. GABRIEL MATA/ THE RIDER

Nearly 60,000 people in Hidalgo and Cameron counties have voted ahead of Tuesday’s primary, officials say.

“As of Wednesday, our raw figures for Democrats were under 30,000 and for Republicans, it’s 5,338,” said Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon, who noted the numbers were unofficial. “When early voting finished in 2012, 38,693 Democrats and 4,026 Republicans voted.”

As of press time Thursday, 33,786 Democrats and 6,573 Republicans had voted. There are 317,677 registered voters in the county.

“My hope is that Hidalgo County goes out and makes new record-breaking percentages,” Ramon said.

“Fort Bend County is always a county that is very high in turnout and totaled together for Democrats and Republicans,” Ramon said. “And Hidalgo County is 10 percent on in-person early votes.”

Early voting ended last Friday.

Cameron County Elections Administrator Remi Garza said the county has about 180,000 registered voters.

“They are higher than the 2014 presidential election numbers,” Garza said about the number of registered voters. “In
fact, they are keeping on pace with the 2008 primaries.”

He said the Democratic Party had one of the highest turnouts for the primaries in 2008.

“They had 22,000 on that election. We are already almost 10,000,” Garza said. “The Republicans had one of their best early voting turnouts in 2012. They had about 2,800 in that year and they are already at 2,400.”

As of press time Thursday,13,975 Democrats and 4,022 Republicanshad voted in Cameron County. He expects to get anywhere between 25,000 and 28,000 people to vote.

Mark Kaswan, a political science assistant professor on the Brownsville campus, explained Texas’ role in Super Tuesday.

“In the primary election, each party is conducting a separate election to choose the person who will be the eventual nominee of the party in the general election,” Kaswan said. “Super Tuesday is a day in the primary calendar when a lot of states allthe same day.”

Kaswan said it will be difficult for Bernie Sanders to beat Hillary Clinton.

“Clinton has an advantage for the Democrats,” Kaswan said. “For the Republicans, a lot of people are saying that [Donald] Trump has a strong advantage. I remain unconvinced. I still don’t think that Trump will win the nomination. I think [Marco] Rubio has a fairly good chance. We still have a long way to go. Things could change substantially.”

On Tuesday, primaries will be held in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. Caucuses will be conducted in Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming (Republican only).

“Texas is the largest state of all the states that are voting on Super Tuesday,” Kaswan said. “Texas awards the largest number of both Democratic and Republican delegates. … The outcome of each primary determines the number of delegates that each candidate will receive going into the national Republican and Democratic conventions, which will be held this summer.”

Jerry Polinard, a political science professor on the Edinburg campus, said Super Tuesday is also called SEC, or Southeastern Conference, because most of the states are Southern states.

“After Super Tuesday there will be a baby Super Tuesday where the parties begin to shift to ‘winner-take-all’, which means if you get the most votes in your state, you get all the delegates,” Polinard said.

Asked who will win the presidency, Polinard replied, it has been almost 30 years since the party in power won three consecutive presidential elections. Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980 and 1984, followed by fellow Republican George H.W. Bush in 1988. He said it will be an uphill battle for Hillary Clinton to win.“It does make a difference in who the Republicans nominate,” Polinard said. “She has got to clearly run not so much a third Obama term but she has to take advantage of, ‘look where we were in 2008 in the economy, crashing and everything. We created jobs [for] 40 straight months etc. Fill in the blanks, all the achievements of the Obama presidency, she has got to say these are positive things we want to keep.”

He said the Republican establishment is trying to get somebody besides Trump nominated. They are afraid that if Trump
is nominated, the real conservative voters won’t vote.

“They won’t vote for Clinton but they won’t vote for Trump,” Polinard said.

Other factors are the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, because whoever wins gets control of the court, and the millennial voters.

“It is going to be you guys, that is the millennial vote,” Polinard said. “Sanders has galvanized that. He’s doing very well with the 18-to-28-year-old vote. Trump is doing surprisingly well with the young vote. The other side, Clinton is focusing on you all now like razors.”

Nursing junior DeAngela Gonzalez said she has not voted, yet, but plans to. She advises other students to look up what
the voting process is and who is running.

“I know a lot of young people don’t vote and I think we should because it would make a big difference,” Gonzalez said. “Since we do live in the Valley and it is a minority, I think we do need younger people to vote, so that we can get
represented.”

Mechanical engineering senior Michael Winarto said students should exercise their right to vote.

“It’s one of your rights as an American citizen to vote and you should definitely use it,” Winarto said, “And if you have and see a candidate you like, their influence, and you want that change, support them by voting.”

Voters in both counties will also be selecting party nominees for local positions. In Hidalgo County, voters will be casting ballots for state district judges, sheriff, county commissioner, county court-at-law judges and constables, among others.

Cameron County voters will select nominees for county judge, sheriff, district attorney, county commissioner and constables, among others.

For information on precinct locations in Hidalgo County, visit https://tx-hidalgocounty.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=105 or call 318-2570.

For information on precinct locations in Cameron County, visit http://www.co.cameron.tx.us/administration/elections_voter_registration/index.php or call 544-0809.

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