Election Day is approaching. Our local, state, and national elected representatives make decisions and laws that directly affect our lives. Women’s health issues are no exception. It is important to allow your opinions to be counted through your vote. Voters must register prior to becoming eligible to cast votes.
Texas voters, visit votetexas.gov or your local county voter registrar’s website for information regarding voting, eligibility, and ways to obtain voter registration applications. You can also find applications at libraries, post offices, and government offices. Texas does not have online voter registration. (Voters from other states should check https://vote.usa.gov/ for guidance as deadlines and requirements may differ.) After completing the voter registration application, mail it to the voter registrar in your county. Voter registration becomes effective 30 days after registration upon acceptance, so you must register by October 11 in Texas to vote in the November 8 presidential election. The above websites will also have instructions about how to confirm your registration. If you have changed your name or moved since your last registration, you should update your registration as this will not change automatically.
As Election Day nears, carefully review requirements for voting, ID, and polling locations. In Texas, an August 2016 federal district court order changed voter identification requirements. See http://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/need-id/ for further details. There are seven approved forms of photo ID, but eligible voters without photo ID have possible supporting ID that can be submitted with additional documentation.
According to the Texas Secretary of State, in 2012, 74.65% of the voting age population registered to vote, and 58.58% of registered voters voted. That’s only 43.75% of Texas’s voting age population. The United States Election Assistance Commission’s 2012 Election Administration and Voter Survey ranked Texas as one of the bottom three to five states in voter turnout. We can and should do better.
To maximize your vote’s impact, educate yourself about candidates and their platforms. Voting is a privilege and responsibility of U.S. citizens to choose our representatives and the future of our country.
If you care about women’s health and our state and country, vote!
- Last day to register to vote is Tuesday, October 11, 2016.
- Early voting is Monday, October 24 – Friday, November 4, 2016.
- Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
Rebecca Teng, MD, is a generalist obstetrician/gynecologist at Oakwood Women’s Centre at Seton Williamson in Round Rock, Texas. She is a Travis County Volunteer Deputy Registrar and previously served as a Dallas County Volunteer Deputy Registrar.