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'It's skyrocketing' | Young Hispanic women fuel local spike in voter registration

With 57 days to go until election day, new voter registrations continue to spike in Harris County. Who these voters are could swing outcomes in November.

HOUSTON — Across the country, women under 45 are driving a spike in voter registration. In Harris County, it's Hispanic women fueling the surge in potential new voters.

"It's, like, skyrocketing," KHOU political analyst Bob Stein said.

Stein said Hispanic women are the ones to watch this election cycle as 27% of all new female voter registrations in the county identify as Hispanic under the age of 45.

"To give you some comparison, that number didn't break 1% a year ago," Stein said.

Something is motivating women to want to vote, and Stein said the data suggests that the issue is abortion.

"Most of these registrations are occurring after the Dobbs decision, after overturning Roe," Stein said.

Stein's research shows a majority of the potential new voters live in Harris County's Democratic precincts.

"These are close races, but Democrats should feel better about these voter registrations," Stein said.

The impact of the Dobbs decision has already been seen in conservative Kansas, where voters overwhelmingly voted not to change the constitution to ban abortion. That result was driven by first-time, young, female voters.

It's why you see Democrats like Beto O'Rourke and Lina Hidalgo hitting their opponents on reproductive rights.

"This issue has forced me to be vocal about these things," Elizabeth Weller said.

Weller lost her pregnancy when complications forced her to decide to have an abortion earlier this year. But, with Texas' new laws, it was a painful, awful experience and the hospital refused to perform the procedure. Doctors waited until Weller became sick and her own body continued to break down.

"That (voter registration numbers) are foretelling of women that are saying, 'This is a direct attack on my bodily autonomy,' and it's making them take a position and come out and vote," Weller said.

Political experts said to expect to continue to see the voter registration trends continue nationwide for the next few weeks. In Texas, voter registration ends on Oct. 11.

The next step for both political parties will be to actually mobilize the registered voters and get them to the polls.

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