Though many local elections were postponed to coincide with the November election to save counties money, there are still plenty of elections taking place across Texas on Saturday, May 12. Turnout for these elections is always pitifully low, but it seems especially dismal this year, and that is a dangerous thing for taxpayers.
The majority of the taxes you pay in Texas are decided at the local level. When you pay property taxes, they mostly pay for schools, and some services from your city and county and various other districts. That has to be the most compelling reason to do your civic duty and vote in these most local of elections. If it isn’t enough, consider that your city council and mayor are the elected officials who make decisions on things like police, fire, and other emergency services, on parks and other recreation, on mass transit like rail and buses, and on waste and water services. Red light cameras are usually put in place by cities; parking fees and fines are decided on and collected for the city.
Voters are doing no one any favors by sitting out these elections. Many do because the election is held on a Saturday in May – Mother’s Day weekend, when there are so many excuses to “forget” to vote. This year in particular, with mass confusion over when the elections are being held and what’s on the ballot, voter apathy is at a wretched peak, meaning the diehard tax-and-spenders are more likely to get their way in non-partisan elections. Incumbency carries weight in local elections, but a motivated base can easily push out an incumbent when the incumbent’s usual voters are inclined to stay home thinking they don’t “need” to get out and vote. All the more reason for conservatives to do their homework and cast a vote – a little bit could go a long way.
If you didn’t vote early, you have all day on Saturday to cast your vote. Not sure what’s on the ballot where you are? Here’s a round-up of some lists from the major counties – if I didn’t list yours here, please check your county elections office (just search online for “—– county elections” if you’re not sure where to go).
Whatever you do, don’t let the status quo win just because you couldn’t be bothered to take ten minutes to go and vote. As the wise man said, decisions are made by those who show up.
Travis County Sample Ballot (link fixed)