Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Take time to go to polls, choose leaders

By the Advocate Editorial Board
March 3, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated March 2, 2014 at 9:03 p.m.

Residents of the Crossroads and people across the state of Texas have the opportunity today to help narrow down the field of candidates who will vie for political office in our state, region and counties.

Victoria has already seen a total of 2,724 people take part in early voting either in person or through the mail. During the last election in November 2013, there were 50,053 registered voters in Victoria County. That means only about 5.44 percent of Victoria County voters have voted in this election so far.

Historically, statewide elections have not seen as high of a voter turnout as presidential elections. We would love for Victoria County and the Crossroads region to reverse that trend. Every election is an opportunity for voters to help decide the future of our city, county, state and nation. If voters neglect to go to the polls, they are effectively handing control of their community over to others.

We encourage voters to take the time to place their votes in the primary election. In some races, this will narrow down the field. But for others, there is no opponent in the opposing party for the following general election in November, so the primary will effectively decide who will hold the office. This is too important of an issue not to take part.

In the past, Victoria County has seen some elections that were so close that a few more votes could have made a major difference in the outcome. In May 2012, a City Council election between then-incumbent Denise Rangel and her challenger, Emett Alvarez, resulted in a split of 380 for Rangel and 383 for Alvarez. Just a few votes on one side or the other could have meant a more decisive victory for Alvarez, a victory for Rangel or a tie between the two.

Similarly, in the 2008 VISD school board election, Tami Keeling was challenged by Charlie Jaynes for the District 5 seat. That election ended in a tie with both candidates bringing in 581 votes. The election then had to be decided by a special election.

These are important examples of why it is so vital for every voter to take part in the democratic process and exercise their right and responsibility as citizens to vote. Many of these positions on the ballot are offices that will have direct impact on our daily lives. We cannot afford to stand idly by and let others make the decisions for us.

The United States was founded on the principle of an educated and involved citizenry coming together to choose the direction and future of this country. We encourage all of the voters in the region to take that principle to heart. Educate yourself on the candidates and then take the opportunity to vote responsibly. No one should let this pass them by.

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



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