Five reasons to vote with your neighbor in mind
Every other May in San Antonio marks the end of a high-stakes roulette game. Municipal elections—also known as local or city elections—give us the opportunity to vote in favor or opposition to new council members, school board members, charter amendments, and bond packages.
In the 2020 local elections, only 17% of registered voters in San Antonio cast a ballot—about the population size of Killeen, Texas, or if you filled the Alamodome a little more than twice.
That’s not enough voters, because, for many of your neighbors, the stakes in this roulette game are higher than you might realize.
Paying attention to local issues is one way to care for your neighbors. Here are five reasons:
1. City council elections can change circumstances for families
In San Antonio, city council members face elections every two years. That means there can be a lot of inconsistencies in the care that certain districts receive. The difference between one council candidate and another could mean dramatically different types of development and wide variances in the quality of life for families in each district.
2. Bonds can build bridges
Many bond packages level the playing fields for harder-to-fund school systems or city council districts that have been neglected in the past. If a city bond fails, it could be years before improvements to drainage or sidewalks can be made. If a school bond fails, it could mean a student might sit for a year in a class with no air conditioning. Not all bond packages are good ideas, but voting on bonds matters because they shape opportunities for families.
3. School boards are community boards
School boards are comprised of people living in your community. Many families rely on school board members to make informed decisions on topics that are not common knowledge. Voting in school board elections could mean voting for a well-informed student and family advocate that is committed to serving our schools.
4. Charter amendments are citizen-led
In most cases, charter amendments are created by groups of concerned citizens and require signatures of neighbors in order to add them to a ballot. When you take time to learn and vote on a charter amendment, you are engaging with proposals that your neighbors across the city have put forward.
5. Our city may be divided, but your vote can bring us together
In elections where only a small percentage of voters turn out, every single vote makes a difference. Voting for things that matter to San Antonians across the city ensures we are thinking about and serving our neighbors. It is an opportunity to express care for our common place even as we may hope for different outcomes.
Early voting begins April 24 and ends May 2. Election day is May 6.