Views expressed in this blog are mine alone and are not intended to represent Williamson County policy nor intended as legal advice.
Today is the last day to vote early in your local elections. You’re voting to choose new council members and mayors for your cities. The turnout for these local elections is usually abysmal. Often fewer than 5% of the eligible voters will cast a ballot. In a city the size of Taylor, which has an estimated population of 18, 254, that means roughly 912 people cast a ballot and decide the direction of city government. That assumes all 18,000 plus are eligible voters. They’re not. Some are too young to vote, some are not registered, some have lost the privilege. So, the number of people that decide Taylor’s government is much smaller. If voting trends hold true, well fewer than a 1,000 people will vote in Taylor. The same holds true in larger municipalities across the county.
So far, the turnout county wide for this election stands at 4.57%.
You may wonder, why the concern about municipal elections? Well, part of my concern is the small number of people who vote. A tiny percentage of a city population determines the fate of the city council and/or mayor. Why let so few people speak for a diverse community? Second, municipal and county officials have far more direct impact on your daily life than who sits in the White House or Congress. Be concerned about those races, of course, but take equal time to find who is running for city council or mayor. These folks determine when your street gets repaired, how your fire and police departments are paid, who repairs your water and waste water lines, how big your public library is and how well maintained your parks are. They set budgets and determine tax rates.
In short, does it connect to your dwelling – water and sewer lines, zoning, refuse pickup, drainage, roads – or is in response to safety – fire, police, EMS? Then it is likely governed in all or part by someone who was elected, or appointed/hired by someone who was elected, in a municipal election. Whether they were at the bottom of the general ballot or in a separate election, they deserve your attention. They won’t be advertising on TV, so it may take a bit to find info. Don’t be deterred. Contact your county party or elections board to find out who is running in the next local election.
Most of all, vote. Your vote is your voice. Change doesn’t come from your silence.