So You Think Your Vote Doesn’t Matter?

Pamela B Puckett, PE

Pamela B Puckett, PE

construction management services engineering and surveyingEarly voting begins next Monday, the 19th. This isn’t a Presidential election year and therefore, turnout is expected to be low. What a shame. We are blessed to live in a country where we have the freedom to vote for those who will determine our future. In many ways, this election is far more important than a presidential election because it affects us locally.

If you feel that one vote won't make a difference, this is a list of national and local elections that were decided by one or just a few votes.  Many are not here in the US, but many are. It’s an interesting list and definitely worth a look.

I know many of us don’t want to vote because we feel we aren’t informed on the issues…..and we believe we shouldn’t vote unless we’re informed. I understand…but it’s a cop out. I challenge you to take the time to educate yourself on at least a few candidates, propositions, etc. and then go vote. Better to vote on only a few races or propositions than not at all.

construction management services engineering and surveying

There are a lot of important statewide propositions on the ballot this year. So, no matter what county you’re in, you’ll have the opportunity to make your voice heard on several items. The one I want to address here is Prop 7. Prop 7 will increase transportation funding without any new taxes. Last year, Texans voted to use some of the rainy day fund to increase transportation funding. Prop 1 passed with an overwhelming margin of 80%. This sent a very important message to our legislators in Austin and they worked on finding more funding sources this past spring. It’s really important that Texans pass Prop 7 with an equally big majority because this funding can be removed by future legislatures if they deem it’s necessary to use those funds elsewhere. If it passes again by 80% – the message will be loud and clear to leave this funding alone in years to come!

If you live in Harris or Montgomery Counties – you’ll have the opportunity to vote for road bonds. In both cases, there will be no tax increase. In both cases, these dollars can be leveraged with increased TxDOT funding to provide even more improved roadways. These bond issues are critical. I doubt I need to convince anyone to vote for them but I was shocked to learn that the 2007 Harris County Bond referendum passed by only 1%. Wow! Talking about making your vote count!

Lastly, there is a big City of Houston election and there are some big issues on the table. Several mayoral candidates want to go back to debt financing of streets and drainage and do away with ReBuild Houston (RBH). Interesting debate IF the City had any bonding capacity left…but they don’t. For those that would do away with RBH, try to figure out how they propose to finance streets and drainage.

No matter how you vote on the various props and ordinances, nor who you chose to vote for, just get out there and VOTE!!! We are lucky to live in a free country and, when the elections are said and done, we have no right to complain if we didn’t take part and make our voice heard. Early voting starts Monday; it’s so incredibly easy because you can vote at any location in your County, you do not have to vote at your precinct location during early voting. Last night I was at a Mayoral Forum and heard a disturbing statistic. In 2011, voter turnout in the City was only 19%. The average age of the City’s electorate at the time was 32 but the average age of those who voted was 62! So, I guess this blog is especially directed at all the young people out there. In the words of Nike – JUST DO IT!!

Pamela B Puckett, PE

Topics: General Interest

Written by Pamela B Puckett, PE