Voting is Your Right

The Baytown Chamber Today

Tracey S. Wheeler, IOM, President & CEO

Texas residents are ranked 47th for voter turnout and are ranked 44th for voter registration. Approximately 7% of voters shifted the composition of the Texas Legislature toward anti-business public policies in the 2017 session. Why is this important to all of us? A profitable American company – one that is growing and healthy – means jobs are secure and employee salaries can be increased to reward good performance. Such a business helps keep others in the marketplace; suppliers, consultants and those who transport the products of industry. Profitable companies pay taxes which help to support state, local and federal governments as well as schools and other public services that otherwise would have to be supported by increased property or other consumer taxes.

Voting is your right and should be looked upon as a privilege. We need to make ourselves informed and most of all WE NEED TO VOTE. It is not too late to register to vote, and we encourage everyone who is not registered to get registered. You can register online at the Harris County Tax Assessor (hctax.net) website up to 30 days prior to the election which is scheduled for November 6th. In 2016, for the first time the United States reached 200 million registered voters, but only 139 million voted in the November 2016 elections. For more information on your rights as a voter, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Voter Information FAQs (http://votetexas.gov/faq/).

Our ancestors fought hard for this right and privilege – don’t waste their efforts. Let’s not be 47th in voter turnout in this election. For the largest state to have this type of record is an embarrassment. Get registered but most importantly GO VOTE. Your second responsibility is to make yourself informed. The worst thing that we can do is straight party voting. Often we do this because it is easier, but everyone in a certain party is not necessarily the best candidates. Remember that it affects all of our representatives but the most effected are our judges. Research the candidates and learn about the issues.

Baytown will have several things on the ballot. One of those being our Mayor and two issues that effect our community – Streets & Roads Sales Tax and Charter Amendments. These will be way at the end, so please don’t ignore them. Streets and Roads Sales Tax has been very effective in our community and allows for non-residents who spend money in Baytown to help pay to maintain our streets and roads.