Legal marijuana, cleaner energy, a path to citizenship for Dreamers, and a host of other policies could come about if enough progressives show up and vote this year. The 2018 midterm elections hold promise for those excited by the prospect of wiping out a bleeding red government with a wave of blue.
In Texas, incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz faces a challenge from grassroots poster boy Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic Congressman from El Paso. Cruz’s Senate seat, Governor Greg Abbott’s seat and 36 congressional seats in the state are up for grabs. That includes Houston’s conservative seventh congressional district in western Harris County, where seven candidates are competing in the March 6 primary for the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Representative John Culberson.
Pundits speculate that the seventh district will become Democrat territory if the same voters who made Hillary Clinton the district winner in 2016 show up this year.
But a lot of people across the district, city and state aren’t voting. Many point to low voter turnout as the reason we’re in this mess to begin with. Voting takes time and so does registering to vote, but just think of how nice it would be to have a slightly less cringeworthy Thanksgiving for the first time in two years.
Regardless of who you pick or why, you can’t vote if you aren’t registered. Don’t know how? We’ll break it down.
The general deadline to register to vote in an election is 30 days prior to an election, which means the deadline for the upcoming primary election is February 5 — just days from now.
Some people ignore the primaries, but the litany of candidates in tight races like the one in the seventh district makes primary elections a valuable opportunity for civic engagement, said Delilah Agho-Otoghile, the Harris County Regional Coordinator for Texas Battleground, an activist organization that pushes to get out the vote.
“Primaries are a great way to engage more people in the voting process because when you have seven candidates running…seven people that you want to make sure you’ve heard about and get the chance to see, and then make your informed decision about who you’re supporting, there are more people who are likely to vote,” said Agho-Otoghile.
The process of registering to vote is fairly straightforward, she explained.
First, check and see if you’re registered to vote at www.harrisvotes.com, advised Agho-Otoghile. If you are, then great! Now all you have to do is figure out who to vote for, show up and check a box.
If you are not registered, or if your registered address is out-of-date, then you have to fill out a form. Yes, that is a pain. But so is waking up to a news cycle dominated by megalomaniac politicians pushing the world to the brink of destruction. Pick your poison.
Download a voter registration form on the county voter registrar and tax assessor website, print it off, fill it out and mail it back to the registrar’s office. If you are a Harris County resident, the mailing address is:
ANN HARRIS BENNETT
Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar
P.O. Box 3527
Houston, Texas 77253-3527
If you don’t like downloading and printing things, complete a form at one of the 16 Harris County tax offices.
Mail-in forms are also available at libraries, post offices and public high schools.
You cannot register to vote online unless you are updating your address from one Harris County location to another.
The last option for registration is to find one of those eager, clipboard-holding volunteers who dedicates their free time to enlisting citizens too lazy to print a form. You know, the ones who put their money where their mouth is instead of complaining about how racist and oppressive and awful the American government is but doing nothing to change it. These folks will help you fill out your form and do the legwork of mailing it.
See you at the polls.