By Cheryl Smith
I like voting and I’ve been doing it for decades. I usually try to vote early because you just never know and I want to ensure that even if I should transition before election day, my vote is on the record. Growing up, I heard all the stories about voting and why it was important. The murders, poll taxes, intimidation tactics, and suppression efforts were par for the course and still occurring today. Some voters are intimidated if they see heavy presence of law enforcement and that has been reported in areas. Closing or changing polling locations, inaccurate information posted and now with COVID-19, well, some become discouraged or begin to feel as though their vote won’t matter anyway. Voting is the best way to effect change.
Today there are even votes taken in households. But, growing up there wasn’t any voting going on in my household. It wasn’t even something my siblings and I even considered. As I recall, my father and mother seemed to agree that one person ruled supreme. Yep, you had to make sure Mother was happy, or guess what? It would be sad times for everyone! But Mother also knew that if and when my father spoke up, he was like James on that 70s hit show, Good Times!
Which brings me to my truth.
If folks don’t vote in this upcoming general election, there will be plenty of unhappy folks. There definitely will be fewer and fewer good times. Now folks in Texas need to get ready. The ballot is long. That’s right voting won’t be like going to get a meal from In-N-Out Burger. Actually it will probably take about the time it takes to eat a burger, but you need to take your time and do it right. I’m urging you to take your time and flip through and read each and every single page. You’re probably wondering “Why?” After all, an overwhelming percentage of Texas, about two-third, cast straight party ballots in 2018. If it was so easy, why did folks have to mess with the process?
Well, in 2017, Texas Legislators (who you voted for) said “no” to straight-party ballots. Could such a move hurt your candidate? Democratic legislators felt so and earlier this year, sued to overturn the decision. Their federal lawsuit was thrown out. An upside for some came when the legislator who authored the bill was not re-elected. Voters provided a clear example of how you can show an elected official your displeasure with their leadership! Some elected officials need a message on November 3, 2020. But they won’t get the message if voters become tired or are too lazy to complete the process. In the coming weeks, we are going to continue sharing information about the voting process in hopes that those of voting age and legally able to vote will do so. The intent is not to harass or shame. Instead maybe pricking the consciousness of people who for whatever reason, don’t realize how significant their vote is. They may not be able to leave millions of dollars or acres of land, but we’ll talk about what that vote can do and hopefully, some readers will be encouraged to walk those extra steps, spend that extra time and follow through with a process that some would rather you forego. Just like with any election I have voted in, whether my candidate won or lost, I did my part. Do yours!