Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Register, help decide future of country

When was the last time you voted? Was it during the last presidential election? The gubernatorial race? What about the last Victoria City Council election?

Tuesday is National Voter Registration day, and we encourage all eligible Crossroads residents to take the time to register to vote. Voting is a right and a responsibility every citizen has. Under the U.S. Constitution, every citizen over the age of 18 has a voice and can help determine the direction of our country by choosing who will represent us and run our government. In today's world, with the tangled, overly politicized mess that is Washington, D.C., that responsibility is more important than ever.

According to data from the Victoria County Elections Office website, Victoria County had 51,491 registered voters at the time of the 2012 presidential election. Of those, only 56.5 percent voted in the election. According to the U.S. Census bureau website, in 2012, Victoria County was estimated to have 89,269 residents, 26.5 percent of whom were under the age of 18. That means about 65,600 residents were voting age during the 2012 election. By these numbers, about 14,000 adults - about 15.8 percent of the total population - in Victoria County were not registered to vote during the last presidential election.

Registering to vote is an easy process that can be done in many different ways. Residents can fill out a voter registration post card, then mail or bring it in person to the Voter Registrar's Office at 2805 N. Navarro St., Suite 500. Residents can also register when getting or renewing a driver's license or state ID. Applications are also available through social service agencies, including Texas Department of Human Services, Texas Department of Health, Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, Texas Rehabilitation Commission, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Texas School for the Deaf, Texas Commission for the Blind and Texas Department of Public Safety. Residents can even get an application when visiting the public library.

We encourage every eligible person to register to vote and make a commitment to vote in every election. The opening phrase of the Constitution states "We the people of the United States. ..." We - each and every one of us - are the ones responsible for choosing the direction of our country. If we choose to sit by and not take that responsibility, we forfeit our say in government and allow others to make decisions that will control our lives.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.