Voting is one of the most powerful ways Americans impact their government, but Texas voter turnout is abysmal, ranking third lowest in the nation.
It’s up to our generation to be the ones who change that, and it starts with making our voices heard in primary elections.
While more than half of Texas adults 18 to 24 registered to vote in the 2016 election, only 39.4 actually cast ballots, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s November 2016 Current Population Survey.
That’s compared to about 60 percent of the total U.S. population, according to the U.S. Elections Project.
Low voter turnout means that we as an entire state do not have as powerful a voice as the rest of the nation.
It means that candidates feel they do not have to worry as much about Texas voters.
They do not think they have to appeal to the beliefs and stances held by Texans as they would states with higher voter turnout, particularly in the primary elections.
Low voter turnout in statewide and local primaries also mean the final decision between two candidates is made by a minority of registered voters.
With early voting, the excuse of not having enough time is largely invalid for most.
With the resources available online to learn about the candidates, the excuse of being ill informed of stances and policies is weak.
Our generation has more resources and opportunity to make voting easier than any before us.
We should have the highest percentage of eligible voters turning out for each election.
We need to stop making excuses about why we didn’t vote and instead educate ourselves and cast a ballot.
If we don’t do that, in what way will we hold our elected officials accountable to their actions?
Early voting for the party primaries begins Feb. 20 comes to a close on March 2.
Primary elections are March 6. The last day to register for the general election is Oct. 9.
Early voting will run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2 and Election Day will be Nov. 6.
Mark those dates.
Get out and vote.
Make our elected officials hear us through our votes and we can make a real difference.