Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Register to vote; help choose our leaders
By the Advocate Editorial Board
April 24, 2014 at 5:01 p.m.
Updated April 23, 2014 at 11:24 p.m.
On May 27, Texans will once again head to the polls. This time, they will be voting on the runoff candidates from the March 4 statewide primary election. Those who wish to vote have until April 28 to register to vote in the runoff.
This election will feature runoffs in some important statewide offices. On the Republican ballot, voters will have the opportunity to choose candidates for railroad commissioner, commissioner of agriculture, attorney general and lieutenant governor. Wayne Christian and Ryan Sitton are facing off to be the nominees for railroad commissioner, and the commissioner of agriculture candidates are Sid Miller and Tommy Merritt. Candidates for the attorney general nomination are Ken Paxton and Dan Branch. Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is trying to hold his office against Dan Patrick.
The Democratic Party ballot will feature two statewide races: commissioner of agriculture and U.S. Senate. Richard "Kinky" Friedman will face Jim Hogan for the commissioner of agriculture nomination, and David M. Alameel and Kesha Rogers will vie for the chance to take on incumbent Sen. John Cornyn in the race for his U.S. Senate seat.
Each of these races are important offices that can have a major impact on residents' lives, so it is important for voters to come to the polls and help choose the next leaders of our state. Unfortunately, statewide primary elections, especially runoffs, have historically seen disappointingly low participation. During the March 4 primary election, Victoria County only saw about 16 percent of registered voters take part. That was lower than the 2012 primary, which saw only 21 percent - a number that is still far too low to be acceptable.
If history is any indicator, runoff elections typically see less involvement than the original election, and statewide elections often experience less involvement than a presidential election. But even in the last presidential election, Victoria County had only a 56.5 percent voter turnout.
We encourage our readers to come out and break this disappointing trend. As early voting nears, we cannot afford to sit back and be indifferent when selecting the people who will be running our state and making decisions that will affect all of our lives. We must take action through our votes.
If we do not, we send the message that our elected officials can do whatever they want because the majority doesn't care enough to take action. That is the wrong message to send.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.