Election Day is here again. Be ready to cast your vote

Rep. Eric Johnson | 5/26/2014, 8:26 a.m.

Texas House of Representatives

May 27 is Election Day once again. This election will decide those races where no candidate received a majority of the votes in March’s primary election.

On the Democratic side, voters will weigh-in on their picks for the offices of U.S. senator, commissioner of Agriculture, judge for County Criminal Court No. 5, district clerk and Dallas county treasurer. One of the candidates for the U.S. senate race, Kesha Rogers, has called for the impeachment of President Obama. It would be truly embarrassing for the Democratic Party if she were to win the nomination. I hope all of you will keep that in mind when heading to the polls.

On the Republican side, the offices in question are lieutenant governor, attorney general, commissioner of Agriculture and railroad commissioner. There are also contested state House and state Senate runoff races on both sides; your ability to vote in those depends on the district in which you live.

Historically, Texas has some of the lowest voter turnout rates in our nation. According to a study by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, Texas’ voter turnout was only at 36 percent in the last midterm election. Turnout is lower during primary elections, like in March, when voter turnout was 13.4 percent, and it is even lower during runoff elections. We also have to keep in mind that this figure is 36 percent of registered voters, not 36 percent of Texas’ total population. Texas ranks 42nd in voter registration, with only 62 percent of the eligible population registered to vote. Contrast these numbers with Minnesota, where 75 percent of registered voters show up to vote and approximately 80 percent of the eligible population registers to vote.

Casting a ballot is one of the most important ways to fulfill our civic duty, and it is our fundamental right as American citizens. Your vote counts; your vote matters; a small number of votes could be the difference between a winner and loser, especially in smaller elections where turnout is extremely low.

Furthermore, think about what it means if only 36 percent of registered voters actually cast a vote. A very small portion of the population is able to make decisions that impact our entire community. The decisions they make are ones that will certainly affect our daily lives and futures. Failing to vote and participate in this election means that you’ve missed a key chance to make your voice heard. So why not seize the opportunity to offer your opinion on issues that concern you?

Take the time to vote in the upcoming primary runoff and in every election that you have the chance to participate in. Information about where to vote, the candidates and what your ballot will look like is available at the Dallas County Elections Department and League of Women Voters’ websites. My office is always available if you have any questions or issues when trying to exercise your right to vote. See you at the polls.