Opinion

Want to have a say in what happens in your community? Raise your voice and vote

The last day to register to vote in the March 3 primary is Feb. 3.

For months now, you’ve talked politics with family members, argued with friends and debated the issues with total strangers on social media. Finally, it’s almost time to put your vote where your convictions are.

Campaign season is fully underway and we’re glad to see there are dozens and dozens of Republicans and Democrats in the Texas primary fighting for the chance to represent us. We’ll be picking a president, but also deciding on hopefuls who will control the Texas House and Senate. And as important and closer to home are county races for sheriff, commissioner and criminal and civil judges.

That so many candidates have entered the primary means democracy is working and fewer people are content to just sit on the sidelines. There’s hope that our cities, our schools, our neighborhoods can grow and thrive.

But that won’t happen unless voters do their part and participate. The last day to register to vote in the March 3 primary is Feb. 3.

We know that Texas — with its multiple elections each year — has not always made it easy. Following elections in this state takes focus and stamina.

In a confusing scheduling twist, for example, on Jan. 28, there will be a runoff between activist Lorraine Birabil and developer James Armstrong in state House District 100 to replace Eric Johnson, who vacated the seat to become mayor of Dallas. Whoever wins will serve until 2021.

Then a little over a month later, Birabil and Armstrong will turn around and face four other Democrats in the March primary for the term that begins in 2021.

We’re counting on voters to pay close attention. The stakes are too high not to.

We’re encouraged that Dallas County is among the Texas counties given the go-ahead to make permanent rules it put in place during the constitutional amendment election in November that allows folks to vote at any polling location. New voting machines that allowed electronic voting with a paper backup promise to make things easier.

The signs were good: Turnout more than doubled from the dismal 6% two years ago.

But we know that’s not good enough. That meant only 12.5% of Texas’ 15.8 million registered voters cast ballots. It was worse in Dallas County where turnout was only 10%.

Too many important issues are riding on this election — from neighborhood crime to those that have statewide and national implications.

Do your civic duty. Get registered and vote on who you want to represent you.

Dallas Morning News Editorial. Dallas Morning News editorials are written by the paper's Editorial Board and serve as the voice and view of the paper. The board considers a broad range of topics and is overseen by the Editor of Editorials.

editorialboard@dallasnews.com @dmnopinion
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