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Victorian celebrates 18th birthday on Election Day

By Jessica Priest
Nov. 5, 2012 at 5:05 a.m.
Updated Nov. 6, 2012 at 5:06 a.m.

Travis Hughes turns 18 on Nov. 6, Election Day. He received his voter registration card last week.

Victoria County voters by age group

Age 18 - 466

Age 19-29 - 8,210

Age 30-39 - 8,297

Age 40-49 - 8,435

Age 50-59 - 10,277

Age 60-64 - 4,356

Age 65 and older - 11,478

Source: Texas Secretary of State, Victoria County Elections Office

One Victoria East High School student is getting an unusual birthday present.

Travis Hughes, born Nov. 6, 1994, will postpone festivities until after he casts his ballot for the next president of the United States. His well-timed birthday makes Travis the youngest voter this year in Victoria County.

"I've got schoolwork and all that good stuff. So it's just another day," said Travis, who works part time at Best Buy. "But it's exciting. Every vote counts, so I don't see why not let my voice be heard?"

It's something the U.S. history buff has been looking forward to, especially after his mother, Deborah Hughes, aired the televised debates in their home and grilled him on his knowledge of current events.

"She makes me listen to NPR and jazz in the car all the time, too. She just likes to annoy me," Travis said, chuckling.

Deborah Hughes got her son a voter registration card during one of her visits to the Victoria Public Library.

"She told me I couldn't go spend the night at a friend's house until I filled out my card. So I said, 'OK,'" Travis said.

Deborah Hughes has been voting in every election since she was 18 and dragged her two children along with her to illustrate it as an important civic duty.

"I wanted him to understand that it has an effect on his life in the long run," she said. "If you don't do anything, you don't have any place to say anything about what's going on."

Hughes has pitched signs in favor of Mitt Romney in the front yard of their one-story Victoria home, but that doesn't necessarily mean Travis has been convinced the former governor of Massachusetts deserves his vote.

"It will just depend. I still need to brush up on both candidates," he said, adding he'll use CNN, Fox and other major news networks to educate himself.

He does identify more with Republican views, though.

His sister has been in the Air Force for three years. So he likes how Romney doesn't plan on scaling back resources for the military. He also thinks Romney will do a better job than President Barack Obama in reining in the growing deficit.

He hasn't had to file taxes yet, but said he doesn't think the middle class should support everyone.

Travis builds computers, so he's headed off to Waco next fall to study at the Texas State Technical College.

"Obama picked up where (former president George W.) Bush left off," Travis said, "but he made it a little worse. He made the country a little more unstable in his four-year term."

But Travis' birthday won't be spent on such weighty political matters.

Rather, he said, he'll be eating a big slice of chocolate cake and heading over to his friend's house. The two like to take Wal-Mart shopping carts on joyrides.

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