VAC President Steve Leakey said the issue is significant because it will affect all residents of The Woodlands. The VAC serves the Montgomery County area with a goal of encouraging an active and informed electorate.
“To have that decision made by a small percentage of voters does not make logical sense,” he said.
Information from VAC and Montgomery County indicates the previous odd-year election in 2019 had a voter turnout of around 19.6% of registered voters in The Woodlands. The most recent presidential election in 2020 showed a turnout of 56.4%. There were 77,080 registered voters in the township as of November 2020, according to the VAC.
Leakey said the VAC previously lobbied The Woodlands Township board of directors to hold an incorporation election in an even year to see higher voter turnout. Township officials have said if The Woodlands incorporates this year, it would have access to COVID-19-related funding available to cities that may not be available in future years, prompting the earlier election date.
Leakey said he hopes those who do not normally vote in odd-numbered years will be motivated to participate more after this election. He added those interested in voting this year should use the Montgomery County Elections website as a tool to track important dates and where voting will take place.
“We encourage people to study every issue on the ballot,” he said. “You can fill out your sample ballot and take it into the polling place, which you are allowed to do.”
Leakey also said a concern for elections is undervoting, which means a voter did not vote on all of the issues on the ballot.
“2020 was a classic example. There was such a high degree of undervoting that in The Woodlands there were a couple of races where the number of undervotes far exceeded the win/loss margin of the winner and loser,” Leakey said. “These were people that were already there, but did not have a complete ballot and did not vote.”
Leakey said the VAC encourages all voters to complete their ballots before completing voting.