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From the editor: Registered voters are casting their ballots

Dawn Burleigh, Editor

While many believe Orange County is red, and even the Democrat Party has been proclaimed dead in this area, one fact remains true. Despite the increase in registered voters, less are turning out to cast their vote.

As this is written, people are still heading to the polls to vote in the Primary Election. In 2018, a non-presidential election year, there were 51,838 registered voters in Orange County. Of those, 26,405 voted.

A total of 51% of the voters cast their ballot and 16,678, 32%, did so during early voting.

Traditionally, on non-presidential election years, less voters turn out. With numbers such as 34.17% in 2014, 38.49% in 2010, and 32.70% in 2006, compared to 60.05% in 2016, 60.63% in 2012, 56.39% in 2008, it is easy to spot the election years.

In 1988, there were 44, 241 registered voters in Orange County. In 1998, there were 54,828 but in 2008 it dropped to 52,145. In 2018, there were 51,838 registered voters. While the numbers fluctuate, more voters are excising their right to vote. Those are the real heroes.

If you did not vote in the Primaries because you are not registered, use this week to get registered for the next election.

Not all elections are federal levels. Soon we will vote to determine positions for City Council, School Boards, and even Orange County Drainage District. These are entities which effect us at the local level and also the ones where the ones you elect into office are the ones you could see at the local grocery store, beauty salon, or tire repair shop. 

These are the same individuals who work, live and play right alongside us.

And while the Primaries will be the deciding election in several campaigns, there is still the Presidential Election in November. 

I have told many people, over the years, I do not care who you vote for, as long as you vote. I encourage people to register to vote and use that vote to have your voice heard. 

Because the information is worth repeating, one may be able to apply to register to vote in person at the following public facilities:

  • State or local voter registration and/or election offices
  • The department of motor vehicles
  • Public assistance agencies
  • Armed services recruitment centers
  • State-funded programs that serve people with disabilities

Any public facility that a state has designated as a voter registration agency

Orange County Election Administration is located at 206 Border Street in Orange. One can call the office at 409-882-7973 to request an application for voter registration or to update one’s current information by filling out a form.

To be eligible to vote, one must be:

  • A U.S Citizen
  • A resident of Orange County
  • Be 18 years of age. One may register at 17 years and 10 months of age.
  • Not be a convicted felon. Unless the sentence is completed, including probation or parole. One will need to check if re-registering is required.
  • Not be declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law.

A person who is diagnosed as being mentally ill, senile, or suffering from some other debility that prevents them from managing his own affairs may be declared mentally incompetent by a court of law, according to http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/

A person who is finally convicted of a felony is not eligible to register to vote. Pursuant to Section 11.002 of the Texas Election Code (the “Code”), once a felon has successfully completed his or her punishment, including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision, period of probation, or has been pardoned, then that person is immediately eligible to register to vote, according to the Texas Secretary of State official website.

Once registered and selected the party of choice, one has three options for how to cast a ballot: By mail, early voting in person or voting in person on Election Day.

To qualify to vote by mail, one must request a Vote By Mail Application from the Orange County Election Office by calling 409-882-7973. The form must be completed and returned with a stamp.

 

Dawn Burleigh is the general manager and editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at dawn.burleigh@orangeleader.com