It’s election season– and we don’t just mean the 2020 presidential race. Voting for the president is oftentimes the first thing we think about when it comes to taking political action. And while it’s true that voting for the highest office is important, the changes that affect our day-to-day lives are often a lot closer to home.
Come November 4th, local and state elections will take place in many parts of the country– from governors and state legislatures to school boards, and more. However, policymaking at the municipal level impacts you and the issues you care about—like healthy meals in school—in more ways than you think. Keep reading to find out why voting in local elections matters, and make your voice heard on Election Day!
Why Local Elections Matter
We’ve all been told that it’s important to vote in our local elections. But why? What makes them so important, and how are they affecting our lives? First and foremost, there is no level of government that is more directly responsible for serving your community than your local elected officials. From income taxes to education reform to economic and community development, many of the issues that affect your day-to-day lives are decided at the local level.
Local governments exercise only the powers granted to them by the states; however, these powers can affect almost every aspect of your daily life. Below are just a few of the responsibilities managed by local governments:
- Local school quality
- Deciding sanctuary jurisdiction status
- Policing and public safety
- Rent costs and affordable housing
- Public transit
- City colleges and job training programs
… and the list goes on and on, all the way down to your recycling options and collection.
As much as you’d like the president to increase funding for education or challenge regional spending, presidents have no say over whether local public schools get more funding, how your city’s financial plans are run, or what kind of arrangements are made for economic and community development.
To sum it all up: your local government has a significant influence on determining your communities’ priorities and how they’re managed. Your vote in local elections has a considerable impact on your quality of life. By voting in elections and holding your local officials accountable, you can help create change within your community.
Why School Board Elections Matter
In this election cycle, it’s critical not to overlook school board elections, as it matters who is making decisions for our students. School board members are responsible for shaping and monitoring education policies, deciding the direction for the district, and determining how funding will be spent at the district and school level. It is important to know and understand what each school board member believes and supports as they will be answering for the communities they represent. Your voice in the local education decision-making process matters, and it starts with school board elections.
In Midland ISD, 4 of the 7 school board seats are up for re-election with a contested race in every district. Our District by District web resource has been developed to help further inform you about this upcoming local election. Click on a school district to learn about current board members and the candidates running against them.
You are eligible to register to vote if:
- You are a United States citizen.
- You are a resident of the county where you submit the application.
- You are at least 17 years and 10 months old, and you are 18 years of age on
- 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.
For additional information on voting in Texas, please visit www.votetexas.gov.