Ask the editor: How can we get more people to vote?

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Texas was dead last in voter turnout for the 2010 midterm elections, ranking 51st out of all states and the District of Columbia. In 2016 Texas did not fare much better, ranking 47th in a presidential election year when turnouts are usually highest.

That’s from the Texas Civic Health Index, a statewide study of civic engagement and voter participation.

Jay Jennings, a researcher at the University of Texas who worked on the study, said the rapid growth of the state may be one factor.

“It takes a while for new people to get accustomed to their community and get engaged,” he said.

Based on the study and other research he has done into local elections, he offered these suggestions: Align local elections to the November national cycle; get more information to young people and newcomers; make electronic voter registration an option; and encourage neighbors to talk about local politics and how collective decision-making is important.

What do you think would help? Let’s not wait until the next election to wonder why more do not vote.

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Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018. A graduate of the University of Houston, Matt was most recently the director of community outreach and engagement at the Columbia Missourian and a professor at the Missouri School of Journalism.
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