Everyone who works elections knows the importance of voting. We see everyday how small trends affect outcomes. The effort put forth by a candidate and their campaign or the events within the community all have bearing on voter turnout and selection.
The tendency over the last few years has been less involvement by voters in campaigns with a corresponding lower turnout at the ballot box. People just seem to be fed up with the ongoing bickering between factions.
Principally among these are the parties. While Democrats and Republicans talk a great deal about cooperation we see and hear more about divisiveness. I believe there are many instances of collaboration but these are not as good a story as some fight on the floor of the legislature. Consequently the fight gets coverage while the teamwork must happen in the background. Sometimes the parties are happier with the lack of attention because no one wants to be thought of as being too friendly to the other side.
Locally we are experiencing much of the same thing. Our election turnouts have been steadily decreasing. The primary and local elections have not attracted as many voters as they did in the past. Partly you can blame the state and national politics but you can also blame some of it on local events.
That is until this year.
This year the primary came in with a 30% turnout. That is double the amount of people who have been voting during primaries. People everywhere were excited about voting. They wanted to participate in the process. Our office fielded calls about where do they go and when do they show up and what do they do when they get there.
After the primary we kind of settled down to the old ways with a low turnout for the primary runoff and an average turnout for the May election. Things were unfortunately going to get back to normal. Then we had a tie vote.
The tie vote seems to have revitalized the voters. In the May election our first two days of early voting had only 121 voters or about 2/10ths of one percent of the voters eligible to vote. During the first two days of early voting for the June election we had 232 voters or more than 2% of the voters in the district. Besides the people who are eligible to vote we’ve also have a lot of people coming in who want to vote but don’t reside in the district.
The interest in this election is exciting and one of the reasons I believe we are seeing this transformation is because everyone now sees the importance of even one vote. Just one vote would have changed the outcome of the first election. Just one vote would mean we wouldn’t be conducting a second election with the associated costs of time, effort and money. Just one vote would mean the campaigns of our candidates would have been able to enjoy the first day of freedom for summer vacation. Just one vote.
If you live in Victoria ISD Single Member Trustee District No. 5 don’t be the one who says, “I was too busy to go vote.” Instead be the one who can say, “I voted in an historical election.”
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