by Ken Shetter, Mayor
Are you familiar with the “you had one job” meme? It is a phrase (perhaps first popularized in the 2001 Ocean’s 11 film), meant to make light of an obvious blunder made in the carrying out of one’s duties. In this instance, I shall employ the sentiment more proactively:
“You have one job, America.”
There aren’t many actual requirements associated with being free American citizens. In other words, not a lot is expected of us. Maybe we can beat expectations…While it is not required of us, let’s all commit to be informed voters—let’s make that, if not our only, at least our most important job this year. After all, the success or failure of American representative democracy depends on our collective wisdom in exercising the sacred right to vote.
Fortunately, while being an informed voter may involve making difficult decisions, the job before us is really pretty simple. Below you will find a step-by-step guide with everything you need to know.
Step 1: Register to vote
You are eligible to vote if:
- You are a United States citizen;
- You are at least 18 years old on Election Day;
- You are not a convicted felon (you may be eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, probation, and parole); and
- You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.
Once you have determined you are eligible, simply go to votetexas.gov where you will find all the resources you need to get registered. The last day to register in order to be eligible to vote in the November 2016 election is October 11, 2016!
Step 2: Get informed
Perhaps the most important thing to remember in this regard is don’t trust everything you read on social media. Take the time to do your own research—not just on the presidential candidates, but on the all of the candidates and issues that will appear on the ballot. As the election approaches, you should be able to find sample ballots on the websites of the Texas Secretary of State or the county election offices. There are countless online resources you can utilize in gaining the information you need to make informed decisions. One word of advice: lean on as many non-partisan sources as you can find. It can be hard to wade through all the propaganda, but one excellent resource is votesmart.org. At votesmart.org/voteeasy you will even find an easy to use interactive guide that will show you which candidates share your views on a wide range of issues.
Step 3: Vote
Election Day is November 8, 2016. But you don’t have to wait until then, because early voting will run from Monday, October 24, 2016 through Friday, November 4, 2016. For more information on where to cast your ballot, visit www.votetexas.gov/voting/where.
So, that’s it…. Three simple steps. It’s time to do our job, America.