May 29 is almost here! Every public school employee in the state should take it upon himself to use his vote to support candidates that support public education. Remember, in the last legislative session alone, the Legislature cut more than $5.4 billion in education funding, resulting in massive losses in education programs and jobs. Now, with several lawsuits challenging the state’s school finance system in the works, education funding is sure to take center stage when the Legislature reconvenes in 2013.
The state is also considering detrimental changes to the Teacher Retirement System (see Retirement news for more on this topic) and further revamping of the state’s accountability system. With so much on the line, educators must be involved in deciding who will represent them.
Before you head to the polls, make sure to visit TeachtheVote.org. When you visit ATPE’s new advocacy site, you can enter your address into a search box and find out who is running for office in your area. Once you know who the candidates are, you can view their profiles, which contain their responses to ATPE’s candidate survey, voting records on education-related legislation and other pertinent information. Using this information, you can decide which candidate most deserves your vote.
Crossover and early voting
Texas is an open primary state, which means that voters can vote in either party’s primary regardless of party affiliation. In other words, Democratic voters could vote in the Republican primary to support a pro-public education candidate and still vote for a Democratic candidate in the general election. This is referred to as “crossover voting” and might be the most influential use of your vote education-wise during the May 29 primary elections.
If you’re not interested in dealing with crowded polling places May 29, take advantage of the ease and convenience of early voting. Early voters do not have to vote at their precinct location as they do on primary election day—all you need to do is go to any early voting location in your county, show your Texas driver license or voter registration card, and cast your ballot. Early voting for the May 29 primary begins May 14 and runs through May 25. Check your local newspaper for early voting locations.
Spread the word
Education isn’t just an educators’ issue; it’s a Texas issue. Don’t forget to encourage your family and friends to vote as well (and direct them to TeachtheVote.org to learn more about candidates in their districts).
Please note: If you do share information from the website with your friends and colleagues, be sure to use personal resources to print or copy information from the website. TeachtheVote.org contains political advertising paid for by ATPE. Educators are prohibited from using school district resources to produce or distribute political advertising.
Questions? Contact ATPE Governmental Relations.