Texas ranks low in voter participation


WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - A new study shows not everything is bigger in Texas, especially voter turnout.

Texas ranks 47th in the nation in voter turnout and 44th in voter registration. That is according to the 2018 study put together by the University of Texas at Austin's Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life and a few other organizations.

It is a non-partisan evaluation of the state's Civic Health Index showing how Texans stack up when it comes to political participation.

While Texomans can see the word "Vote" on campaign signs all over Wichita County as candidates hope to get voter's support at the polls, the study shows not many will show up.

"That's so unfortunate, I can remember when I was younger people really worked harder and fought harder for the right to vote," said Arthur Bea Williams.

Doctor Steve Garrison, Midwestern State University Political Science Associate Professor, said we must remember at one point in time women and certain minorities were not allowed to vote.

"I think it's something that we can never take for granted," said Doctor Garrison.

He adds traditionally Texas tends to be in the lower ranking states as far as turnout.

"One of the things that I think has something to do with Texas, and if you look at those states across the nation, is they tend to be states that don't have very competitive state politics," said Doctor Garrison.

He said Texas is also ranked low in educational systems across the 50 states.

"You have to be informed to be able to be involved in politics," said Doctor Garrison.

The study says the top reasons people gave for not voting in 2012 was "too busy" or had a "conflict with work." Dislike of the candidates and issues ranked a distant third.

It also points out thriving communities and a healthy democracy depend on active citizen participation.

Williams said she thinks it is important to vote for the person or the proposition that represents what she believes in or wants.

Tiger Ochoa agrees and said, "That's your opportunity to make a difference in your community, so for sure go out and vote and let your voice be heard."

However, a number people said they do not vote. Many feel theirs does not count.

"In high school, they teach you you vote and your one vote can be that one," said Alex Gonzales. "In reality, it's not, it's the main people that are in the politics."

While Texans rank low in voter turnout, the study ranks them 24th, slightly above the national average, in doing favors for their neighbors.

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