If you didn’t vote early in the 2019 local issue general election, Saturday is your last chance to exercise one of the most fundamental and important rights we Americans possess.
This is an off-cycle election. There are no heated, partisan races among national- or state-level politicians.
Given that people tend to ignore local elections even when they have a lot of personality, this election could turn out to be a snoozer, as far as voter turnout.
That statistic — the number of eligible voters who actually bother to vote — is seldom great and often dismal, not even cracking 10 percent when there are no party-driven issues or people on the ballot.
That shouldn’t be the case. Voting is one those civic duties that’s as important just in itself as for what it achieves. It’s like showing up for jury duty — the act of participating is more broadly important than the outcome of a particular trial. Voting, in other words, is a worthy end in itself, as well as a means to important decisions.
It’s worth the effort to get out and vote, and it has never been easier than it is now with the creation of county voting centers, where you can vote in any race conducted by Galveston County.
That’s not to say there’s nothing important in the ballots. The contrary is true.
Voters in League City will consider a $145 million general-obligation bond issue divided into three ballot propositions.
Proposition A calls for $73 million for flood protection and drainage improvements; Proposition B calls for $72 million for streets, roads and other mobility improvements; and Proposition C asks voters to approve a ¼-cent increase in the local sales tax rate to help pay for the debt.
This is the first time in almost 30 years that League City has asked voters to approve bond propositions, rather than taking on debt through certificates of obligation. The editorial board argues that amassing debt is inevitable for the growing city and voters should support the propositions.
Voters in Galveston will consider whether to extend the city’s authority to collect fees for parking along Seawall Boulevard, and whether the city can increase those parking fees.
Proposition A calls for increasing the minimum parking fee to $4 from $1. Now, people can pay $1 to park for one hour. Under Proposition A, they would have to pay $2 and park for a minimum of two hours.
Our only quibble with Proposition A is increasing the cost of an annual parking pass to $45 from $25. We argue that fee should not be increased. Dislike of that one provision is not enough to oppose the proposition, however. We urge voters to support Proposition A.
Meanwhile, voters across the county will decide who’ll represent them on city councils, boards of aldermen, school and college districts — including electing mayors in Clear Lake Shores, Hitchcock, Jamaica Beach and Kemah — and whether to allow San Leon Municipal Utility District and Galveston County Water Control and Improvement District No. 12 to issue debt.
No matter what your attitudes about the propositions and the candidates, if you believe in democracy and are eligible to vote, you should do so.
• Michael A. Smith