Eligible voters who haven’t registered for the November general election are quickly running out of time to do so. It’s not too late, but it will be in less than two weeks.
The deadline to register is Oct. 5, and we all know how time flies when we’re having so much fun.
Along with all the other things it has been, 2020 has been a year of political and cultural heat like the country has not seen since maybe the late 1960s and early ‘70s.
It promises to be a watershed year in U.S. history; one of those times when our nation shifts profoundly in many ways.
We’d argue those shifts have tended to be for the better; have served to move the country closer toward that more perfect union our founders envisioned.
Nothing guarantees that, of course, and this election year gives everyone things to fear and things to hope for.
That combination of fear and hope, along with a fair measure of anger, has been driving the political activism and protest we’ve witnessed for much of this year. Activism might be good, but it’s merely a prelude, because, as any activist should know, the real power to effect, or prevent, sweeping change is to have like-minded people at the switches and levers of government.
No matter which side of the great divide we happen to be on, whether hoping for change or fearing it, we’re united in the fact that if we want to influence policy, we have to vote.
And if we want to vote, we have to register. If we want to register, we have to do it no later than Oct. 5.
Along with casting ballots for president and vice president, county voters will help elect a U.S. senator and a representative for the 14th Congressional District.
Even if the profound choices at hand on the national level leave you somehow unmoved, there are important local questions more than warranting the little time and effort it takes to vote.
As we’ve noted before, all local elections are important. We argue they are more directly important than state and national elections because the things city councils, school boards and the like do or fail to do have more immediate and sometimes more profound consequences for residents.
Voters will elect state- and district-level judges and justices, state senators for Districts 4 and 11, state representatives for Districts 23 and 24, county commissioners and a sheriff.
Local elections are especially important in Galveston, where the entire city council must stand for election every two years. It’s an unusual and, arguably, deeply flawed system under which leadership, vision and direction can change in a day. That has happened pretty often.
Meanwhile, Texas City and Dickinson will choose new mayors as long-serving leaders step down from those posts.
Friendswood voters will decide whether to keep a 3/8-cent sales and use tax, revenue from which is used to maintain and repair streets.
Dickinson Independent School District voters will decide a $94.2 million bond proposition called to pay for a new junior high school to serve 1,200 students, along with district-wide security upgrades and facility improvements.
One of the great oddities of this country, and others, is that political issues can erupt in ways that leave cities in ashes, while the regular, periodical elections that determine the character and vision of the people who govern, and therefore the policy and nature of the country, tend to inspire less than half of possible voters, sometimes far less than that.
One aspect of change we might all get behind in changing that: becoming a nation, a state, a county and cities in which most all people exercise their awesome right to vote, to influence public policy, just as a matter of course.
The first step toward that, of course, is to register, which must be done no later than Oct. 5.
• Michael A. Smith