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Constable Carlos Lopez and his deputies assist the citizens and courts of Travis County

Carlos B. Lopez, Constable

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Bruce Elfant

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Constable's Notebook - August 2006

Would you allow people you know nothing about to make decisions about your family, your finances, your health care decisions, etc? Of course not. Amazingly, half or more people do just that by failing to cast their vote for or against issues and candidates that determine the quality of our schools, safety, environment, health, transportation and the taxes we pay to fund these government services. About 90% of us failed to vote in the recent city council elections. Election officials predict that more than half will delegate their voices to strangers in this year’s federal, state and local elections by not voting.

My goal is to prove those election officials wrong. The first step is to get people registered to vote. Travis County citizens are pretty good about registering to vote but there are many people who have recently moved to Travis County or who have put off registering for whatever reason. Many others don’t realize that if your current address is not on your yellow voter registration card, you need to re-register. In 2004 more than 55,000 new voter registrations were received and 30,000 more people re-registered to change their addresses. Voter registration forms can be obtained at numerous locations including The County Courthouse at 11th and Guadalupe, Travis County Tax Office at 5501 Airport Blvd., city libraries, and the League of Women Voters. They can also be downloaded from the County Tax office www.traviscountytax.org and the Secretary of State. It is estimated that 100,000 or more of our neighbors are eligible to register but have not done so. The deadline to register to vote for the November election is October 10.

With so many important issues hanging in the balance in Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Courthouse and City Hall, many people have decided that they need to become more involved in our democracy. Volunteer Deputy Registrars will be working registration booths and canvassing neighborhoods to register voters. In order to register voters, a person has to receive some basic training and be deputized. I am authorized to train and deputize people in Travis County. I have already deputized about 100 people this year and am available to attend neighborhood meetings and other gatherings to train and deputize those who want to help their community achieve a higher voter turnout.

President Kennedy once said, “the ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” Jean Nathan said, “bad officials are elected by good people who do not vote.” With all the rights afforded to us by our American Constitution and Bill of Rights comes the responsibility of citizenship. Just as we would insist on making our own decisions about our families, we should be as vigilant about participating in the deliberations and decisions of our democracy.

“Do what half the world only dreams of doing: vote.”

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