Progressive Views: Voting, A Privilege and A Right

by Kevin Henning, KCDP Chair
for the “Progressive Views” column, Boerne Star, October 25, 2019

Este comentario también está disponible en español.

Sticker reading "I Voted" in English, Chinese and Spanish
“I Voted!” by Dave Schumaker is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Each of us who votes can make a huge difference in the future of our city, county, state and country.  How?  First, get registered to vote.  Then learn about the issues and candidates.  Finally, vote in every election.  This newspaper is an excellent source for information on elections, local candidates and issues.

So how can you register to vote?  You can go to the Kendall Country Election Administration office at 221 Fawn Valley Drive and register there.  You can keep your eye out for voter registration booths at events like Boerne Market Days and register with a Deputy Voter Registrar.  Also, if you have internet access, go to www.register2vote.org.

To learn about the issues and candidates, you can attend local government and informational meetings, talk with friends and associates, read newspapers or go on the internet.  To get started, why not attend the monthly Boerne Area Democrats meeting?  It is the second Thursday of the month and is announced in this paper.  Also, here are several websites that can educate and let you know where and how to get informed:

Once you are registered, you can vote but there are a few things to remember.  You will be able to vote by mail (if qualified), vote during the early voting period, or vote on election day.  Our next election is on November 5 when we will be voting on ten constitutional amendments.  In 2020, we will have a primary election on March 3, possibly a runoff election in May and the general/presidential  election on November 3, 2020. 

When you go to vote you will need to have a picture ID.  Drivers license, passport, military ID, Texas ID and many others will qualify.  Also, there are other forms that may be acceptable.  This link explains the details of ID requirement and the vote by mail process:  www.texasdemocrats.org/my-texas-votes/  Also, don’t hesitate to check with the Election office  (830-331-8701) if you have questions on any aspect of voting.  The Kendall County election office is one of the best in the state and are an excellent source for information on voting.

We should all be excited that countywide voting will be implemented in the November 5, 2019 Amendment election. This means that on election day, you can vote in any polling place in the county, not just in your precinct.  Typically, this election has very low (less than 10%) turnout so please study the Amendments and get out and vote.  Here’s a link with details on when and where to vote in  November Amendment elections:  www.co.kendall.tx.us/page/Elections.current.november

One final word on the November Election: there are 10 Constitutional Amendments that require a vote.  Nine of the propositions were approved by the legislature across party lines.  Proposition 4 was opposed by the Democrats.  It would prohibit the Texas Legislature from establishing a personal state income tax, is a Republican Party effort to control future events, and is yet another example of their efforts to disenfranchise the people of Texas.  Here’s why we should vote “no” on Prop 4:

  1. It is not necessary because the Texas Constitution now prohibits the Legislature from imposing an income tax without a statewide referendum. In addition, any net revenue from that tax must be used for the support of education which might be good.
  2. The current Legislature and today’s voters should not make taxation decisions for future Texans. The needs of Texans change over time, so future Texans should make their own choices on taxation.
  3. We pay high property and sales taxes because Texas has no income tax. If Proposition 4 is passed, these taxes would likely continue to increase, so it would not necessarily decrease government spending.

The right to vote is a very special privilege that, unfortunately, far too few countries enjoy.  We are witnessing a heroic effort in Hong Kong to keep China from driving them completely into totalitarianism.  In Texas, voter suppression is alive and well.  It takes the form of extreme gerrymandering, over-the-top ID requirements, some of the most restrictive voter registration rules in the country, and the ill-fated voter purge engineered by the disgraced former acting Secretary of State, David Whitley.  So, we must stay vigilant, and we must fight to stop more of these anti-democratic measures from being implemented. 

I hope this brief summary will help you get started.  The Republican Party continues to implement strategies to suppress the vote of minorities and people with progressive views.  Don’t let them suppress your vote. Cast your ballot vote in the November 5 election and all future elections.

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