Here’s hoping you paid attention to your civics and government classes when you were in school and that you kept up along the way as you’ve been voting. Otherwise the electoral process can get a bit confusing.
For starters, we just had a primary election March 3 in Texas for both the Democratic and Republican parties’ candidates for a wide range of local, statewide and federal offices.
Those who voted declared a party and were provided with a ballot listing that party’s candidates running for office. The winners will now face candidates from the opposing political party during the general election in November – unless there are runoffs, which means none of the candidates in a given race received at least 50 percent of the vote.
That is the case locally with races in both parties. The outcome of those runoffs in May will determine which candidates will be on the ballot this fall.
Along the way, there will be political conventions with delegates and super delegates, political platform agendas and lots of excitement with gatherings of all kinds and the release of balloons, handheld signs and streamers – what many of us have seen on TV.
But let’s back up a bit to a moment in time last week. What was a little different this go ’round for the primary election is that upon leaving my voting precinct, not only did I pick up the “I Voted” red, white and blue sticker I routinely do after casting my electronic ballot, but also two noticeable flyers in separate stacks. They were there for the taking right next to the stickers and had follow-up information about the county and state conventions for each of the political parties. Never before have I seen flyers of the sort.
More than likely, the one from your declared political party that day was the flyer for you, if you wanted it. But it was there. This struck me as a first, at least for me. It was an open invitation for further participation in the electoral process – and at a polling site.
That’s not to say the flyers have not been there in the past. Maybe a certain number have been printed and all were taken by the time I voted during my four-plus decades of voting history in Texas and in more than just one county. I am not the only one that took note, but the same appears to be the case in Harris County, shared a work associate who also had never seen the county and state convention information at a polling site.
As strange and novel as it may seem, I was elated to see the content in these flyers.
Obviously, the county leaders of the two political parties want voters to consider continued participation in the electoral process.
I used to wonder, but never really inquired just how people were “invited” to participate at national conventions. Well, it’s no secret. And with the convention information shared at polling sites and even on the internet, the electoral process is more open than ever.
But maybe some thought can be given to this: if the printed flyers run out at voting sites, posting them is a good idea. Could be that’s already the case in some places, or maybe not.
So for now, if you’re interested, on the Democratic party site online, we’re told that if you want to be a national delegate, start with attending your county convention on March 21. The date and information in English and Spanish is on the flyer I picked up from my local polling site. What follows is the Democrats’ state convention on June 4 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.
Notice of conventions from the Fort Bend County Republican flyer, in English only and signed by county party chair Linda Howell, shows the same date, March 21, for that party’s precinct conventions. The date of the Texas Republican party state convention, also on that flyer, is set for May 14-16 and will be close to home at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
So just who can attend and continue a more active role in the electoral process? Anyone who is a registered voter, is affiliated with a political party either by voting in the party’s primary or by taking an oath of affiliation. And, there’s also a process that involves election in level conventions. So, if you want to know more, this is the time to contact your county political party chairs – Howell or Cynthia Ginyard for the Democratic party.
In the end, in America, political party elections are aimed at representing the view of the people who voted the candidates in. And in my view, elected political office-holders represent one of the best forms of patriotism – love of country and love of fellow citizens.
We, the people, are in all this together and the next step in the elaborate electoral process is your call, better facilitated by our local political parties.