This story is part of A Nation Engaged, a collaborative project between NPR and its member stations. This week's question: "Does my vote matter? More than 4.2 million Texans cast a ballot in March’s primaries. That’s only about 20 percent of eligible voters in the state. Today on "Think," Lauren Silverman spoke with North Texas political organizers about convincing people that their votes count.
Ed Rankin of the Dallas County Libertarian Party said staying home on Election Day is a missed opportunity.
"We say the only wasted vote is voting for someone that you don't truly believe in, or if you vote for a a party or you vote for a platform or causes that you don't truly support," he said. "People need to get involved and become active. Go to your town council meetings, go to your county commissioner's meetings. Express your points of view; talk to your representatives on a regular basis. You have to do more than just go vote."
Marco Rosas, president of the Tarrant County Young Democrats, also joined the conversation. He emphasized the importance of local elections.
"Everyone's looking at the national elections. Yes, you can look at national elections all you want. When it comes down to it, it's going to be your local congressman, state house rep, J.P. that's really going to be making the most influence in your life."
And, as Collin County Republican Party executive director Neal Katz said, these local races can be tight.
"Look what happened in Irving in May, where the race was a tie and there was one provisional vote, and that provisional vote counted and the race was decided by one vote." he said. "In Murphy and Collin County four years ago, we had actually a tie after Election Day and had to have a whole new election. Your vote does count."
"Think" re-airs tonight at 9, and you can listen to the podcast below: