Analyzing Voter Participation in El Paso County, Texas

Samantha Romero, University of Texas at El Paso


This thesis seeks to analyze and understand voting patterns in El Paso County, Texas, based on a study of voter turnout in the November 2015 Uniform Election and three key research objectives. The first objective is to provide a systematic statistical evaluation of a local endeavor, the Student Voter Initiative (SVI), to increase voter turnout among youth, specifically 18-year-olds, in the November 2015 Uniform Election. The second objective is to estimate voter turnout by age group (generation) and investigate whether younger voters were underrepresented in the November 2015 Uniform Election compared to older generations, based on generational categories defined by the Pew Research Center. The third objective is to analyze the role of specific socio-demographic factors in explaining voter participation for all voters countywide, as well as for different voter age groups, using precinct level data. This research utilizes descriptive statistical measures, bivariate inferential tests, and precinct level maps based on geographic information system (GIS) software. The statistical evidence demonstrates that the SVI had a positive and significant impact on the student or 18-year-old voter turnout in this county. The turnout for 18-year-old voters who participated in the SVI was 3.5 times greater than the overall county turnout for voters aged 18 years. Further, contrary to the literature that states voter turnout increases with age, inferential tests indicate that turnout in El Paso County increased with age for only those aged 35 years or older. The significantly higher turnout of 18-year-olds compared to their youth peers (ages 19-21 years) and the Millennial generation (ages 20-35 years) are also indicative of the success of the SVI. The proportion of population age 65 or older in the precinct proved to be the most statistically significant and consistent predictor of overall voter turnout and turnout for every age group. Voting participation for ages higher than 52 years was also significantly higher in precincts which contain more economically affluent and educated residents. Although this analysis provided important insights on how several precinct level socio-demographic factors influence voter turnout in El Paso County, future research needs to examine these statistical associations in more detail using individual voter level data on race/ethnicity, income, home ownership, and educational attainment.

Subject Area

Sociology|Political science|Behavioral psychology

Recommended Citation

Romero, Samantha, "Analyzing Voter Participation in El Paso County, Texas" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28088095.