League of Women Voters: Use This Election as Your Megaphone
By Dr. Lucia Harcum
May 4th is an election day in Mclennan County. It is easy to believe your vote does not matter or will not count. This is incorrect. In May’s 2017 election, less than 4% of registered voters cast a vote and only 1 out of 80 McLennan county residents voted. These statistics make it easy to see that with only a very little effort, the McLennan county voters can be statistically significant in election results.
This is not an election for president, your senator, congressperson, mayor or even dog catcher. So some may be tempted to feel this is a “who cares” election. Even voters that know all about national politics have a challenging time connecting any of them to our daily lives. The fact is that everyone you know NEEDS to vote in May. This action ensures that in the future your votes are sought after, you and your family concerns are addressed, and that these issues must be considered and addressed by your elected officials wishing to remain in office and those seeking offices.
Too often entire neighborhoods do not vote because it appears to them that those running do not seem to care about what is important to their family. Yet this is a two-way street. How can an elected official seeking your vote know your wishes if they do not even know if you will vote? Why would they care about what is important to you if you have not shown them that they can count on your vote and you will vote, even in a low-controversy election? Use this upcoming election as a megaphone for the vote. The vote this election is expected to be so low that even small groups of neighborhoods that show up in mass could significantly sway all elections by an easy margin. Make your vote count; said here, is why.
Traditionally this phase in the voting cycle has an expected low voter turnout because the issues are not extremely politically charged with emotion. If you vote, all the Parties are watching and will glean as much information as possible about the voting population demographics. That information will then be used sway your future vote. Frankly this has always happened in the past. The difference today is that information is dissected via the internet and social media. It may be difficult to know or confirm the true facts. Research the information. Make an informed decision. Vote intelligently with a focus toward your desired outcome in world-wide interests, nation-wide, state, county and local government concerns or interests in the future.
This upcoming voter turnout will serve as a gauge for voter interest by the political cogs. It will notify the parties, all of them (Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, and Green), about the apathy and/or passion of all districts. It will be the base for candidate platforms and with these demographics they will statistically calculate the precinct’s potential and future viability of candidates and proposal successes.
Good news for voting. The lines will be short, and parking will be available. Voting in this election shows our elected officials (and their political planners) you’re your vote has real value. Your voice through your vote needs to be sought out, heard, and addressed by the political planners. This includes concerns about you, your family, your community, and your country in all aspects: healthcare, education, economy, jobs, etc. Also, and this is very important, the people that get out and vote will be a factor of the future election campaign because you will vote again in the future.
Your vote can easily have a significant impact on the opinion of potential new or incumbent officials and changes in laws. If you do not vote, it is assumed that you will remain one of the voiceless who simply (but stupidly) gave their voice to someone else. The projected turnout for November’s election amplifies your voice today and in the future. Use your vote as a megaphone to represent your family, your neighborhood, and McLennan County. If you are registered, vote by May 4. If you are not registered, do so NOW and your vote WILL count in the future!
Before you vote, check out the non-partisan voter guides for the elections to the Bellmead City Council and the Hewitt City Council at www.vote411.org.
Dr. Lucia Harcum is a free-lance research writer and active member of the League of Women Voters of Waco, Junior League of Waco, Central Texas Coalition for Literacy, Central Texas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and is Treasurer of a local nonprofit. This article originally appeared in her weekly column, Para La Familia, published by TIEMPO, a Central Texas Spanish/English Newspaper. It has been adapted for the May 2019 publication in the Act Locally Waco blog.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.