On October 22, Texans will start casting votes in the November general election.

We’ll soon be voting for everything from congressional and state representatives to county commissioners; statewide officials (including Texas Supreme Court justices) to judges at every level; school taxes, school bonds, and county road bonds; and even stopping forced annexation.

That means we — you, me, all of us who care about good governance — have less than six weeks to become educated voters on a wide range of candidates and issues.

At Empower Texans we also care about self-governance, so we’re working every day to provide Texas taxpayers with relevant information for making decisions about the people we elect to public office, and the policies they implement.

Elections, as they say, have consequences. Do you want elected officials who tell you what to do and take more of your hard-earned money? Judges who make it up as they go instead of following the law? More local debt to drive property taxes higher and fund wasteful spending?

I don’t, and if you don’t either, here’s what we can do:

Start with the basics. Register to vote. To participate in November’s elections, you must register by October 9. If you’re already registered (double-check here), make sure your family, friends, and neighbors are too. Find out what’s on your ballot. Your county elections office has sample ballots.

Get informed. Read up on candidates and issues on your ballot, attend forums, ask questions. Find out whose values match yours. Need more info? Here’s where our resources come in handy. See which federal, state, and local candidates have earned endorsements from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. Vet incumbent state legislators’ voting records and ratings with our Fiscal Responsibility Index. And check out Texas Scorecard’s coverage of campaign news and issues.

Share what you know. Talk with family, friends, and neighbors about the election. Remind them to vote. Uncomfortable talking politics? Focus on why it matters to be free. And if they’re not sure how to vote, you’ll be able to guide them.

Participate in the process. Many races are decided by 100 votes or less. No, not the statewide elections, but legislative, judicial, and other critical races. Vote, and encourage others to vote. Consider supporting a candidate or cause with your time or money. Yes, what you do — or fail to do — actually makes a difference.

We’ve got six weeks. Let’s make them count.

Early voting in the November 6 general election starts Monday, October 22, and runs through Friday, November 2.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.