Voter turnout is very often dismal in Fort Bend County and the consequences are huge. Everyone wants representative government but when residents don’t vote, it’s very easy for fringe groups, voting blocs, money and fear to impact our elections. We end up with an electorate that only caters to selected groups and their interests, which no one wants, or we see candidates focusing on fringe, instead of major issues. I think low vote turnout in our area has as its root cause with voters who are sick of the political partisanship, acting out, frivolous spending, bias and favoritism, and bad decisions made by our elected officials. Each one of these is certainly present in Fort Bend County. We need to vote to ensure change and better government Voting isn’t a sure bet for change but it’s a whole lot better than just abandoning the process.
Some non-voters will tell you government doesn’t change. It can but government changes are usually small and incremental and precipitated mainly by new candidates getting elected. But, that doesn’t happen unless we each cast our vote and we make our voice heard. Entrenched incumbents are especially bad for government because they are what cause government to stagnate and seem unresponsive.
Some incumbents will get lazy and assume anything they do is right. We have a two-year election cycle for most public offices because few elected officials can handle the acclaim of being a public official for more than a few cycles before it goes to their head. Some elected officials act out and others cater to their own neighborhood and forget the rest of their constituency. There are exceptional public office holders that don’t fit this mold and serve well but they are few. Anyway, yes, government changes but not unless you vote. Not voting is the worst option.
Accountability is the opposite of voter indifference. Holding public officials accountable by voting and providing constructive support is how the democratic process is most effective. I’ve seen it work. When public officials know your neighborhood votes and that you care about what they’re doing, you request and see constructive change and benefits because the officials want your neighborhood behind them come election time. When your neighbors don’t vote, public officials get lackadaisical about supporting your needs and input.
In short, indifference and not voting are not the answer to ineffective government. Voting is the answer and we all would see better government in Fort Bend County if more residents did vote.
Howard E. Moline