Are you one of the few who show up?
05/24/2016 | Author: Brandon Alderete
In Lehman’s Terms
This week’s column was written by Brandon Alderete, director of political affairs for the Texas Association of REALTORS®.
Quick question: If today is an election day, where are all the voters?
Today’s primary runoff elections may not be as glamorous (or noisy) as the November presidential election, but these races are more important than many voters realize because they determine who will be on that ballot in November.
Candidates definitely get the significance of these elections. That’s why you’ve no doubt seen a few tell-tale election indicators over the past few months: campaign signs surrounding polling places in your community, glossy political mailers in your mailbox, and 30-second TV ads extolling a particular candidate’s virtues or highlighting the opposition’s dastardly deeds.
But all that advocacy leads me to ask: Where are all the voters?
Did they forget? Don’t they care?
History tells a story (of apathy)
If the past is any indication, somewhere around 1 million Texans will vote in today’s crucial primary runoffs. That sounds like a lot of votes, but it’s really only about 7% of registered voters statewide.
That’s right … in a state of about 25 million people, we have about 14.2 million registered voters, and only about one in 14 of them will show up today.
Think of it this way: If you are participating in this election, you have a tremendous responsibility—you’re speaking for yourself and about 13 other people.
No excuses, please
Even people who are registered to vote give excuses for not voting, and almost all of these excuses are either poorly reasoned or easily remedied.
When someone says “I’m sick of politics,” I explain that those who don’t vote are just as responsible for the current political environment as those who participate. And they won’t effect change by sitting on the sidelines.
When someone says “But my vote doesn’t matter,” I say it’s really true that every vote counts. In fact, one Texas race during the March primary election resulted in a 13-vote difference between two candidates out of 135,000 votes cast!
My favorite is when someone says “There’s not enough information to make a decision.” This allows me to remind them of the myriad places to find election information. For example, the Texas Association of REALTORS® is just one of the many organizations that interviews candidates and reviews incumbents’ voting records before deciding who to support. Visit texasrealtorssupport.com to see the candidates who have earned support from one of the largest consumer watchdogs at the Texas Capitol. You can even enter your address and print your own personal voting guide.
Easy rebuttals to these and other excuses lead me to make only two possible conclusions when considering our state’s abysmal voter-turnout numbers: voters forget or they don’t care.
Make time to make a difference today
Some people have their reasons for not voting, and that’s fine. But if you’re reading this, you can’t say you forgot.
Stop by your polling place before 7 p.m. today so you don’t miss this chance to shape our future. Otherwise I’ll think you don’t care.
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