Make a Plan and Vote

February 21, 2024  

More than half of Texans are registered to vote, but decisions that affect the 30 million residents are often made by a small portion of registered voters. 

Voting is a powerful tool for electing leaders who are invested in making the right decisions for their constituents, but Texas residents must go to the polls to ensure their voices are heard.

“Voting is accountability,” said Matthew Hall, Senior Regional Advocacy Director for the Dallas/Fort Worth region at Raise Your Hand Texas. “It’s helpful to think about public officials as our employees. Elections are a great opportunity for voters to evaluate them, see what they’ve done, and if you want to extend their contract.”

Let’s take power into our own hands this 2024 primary election season, and vote. Early voting for Texas’ March 5 primary elections started on February 20.

Raise Your Hand Texas Holds Public Education Candidate Forums

At Raise Your Hand Texas, we hold public education candidate forums across the state to help Texas voters be most informed about where candidates stand on education issues before they vote. All candidates running for the Texas Legislature or a run-off election in their respective region are invited to participate in the forum.

This year, we hosted almost 15 public education candidate forums across Texas. The forums were free to attend and open to the public to equip as many Texas voters with the necessary information regarding public education to make informed decisions at the polls.

“As a voter, you’re not always going to have the opportunity to hear the differences between candidates and what they think about everything, from funding career and technical education to addressing teacher pay and shortages,” Hall said. “These forums give voters a great opportunity to see who’s done their homework, who’s got a plan, how those plans are similar, and how they diverge.”

Watch the public education candidate forums on our website.

Why Voting Matters

Decisions that affect a person’s everyday life happen on every level. “Voting in all elections is an expression of power because you’re going to have a say in steering a ton of resources where you think they should go,” Hall said.

For example, the federal government accounts for only eight percent of total public education funds. That means the majority of responsibility falls into the hands of the Texas Legislature to determine school funding and legislation on testing and accountability. Local school boards then allocate money from the state within the district.

Going into the 88th Legislative Session, Texas had a $33 billion surplus with recommendations from the Teacher Vacancy Task Force, Commission on Special Education Funding, and the Measure What Matters Assessment and Accountability Council to act on issues facing Texas public schools. But state legislators did not pass legislation that would strengthen public education.

It is important to elect legislators who are committed to fighting for the needs of public schools, teachers, staff, and students this primary election season.

Make a Plan to Vote

Although it sounds as simple as showing up to the polls on Election Day, getting out to vote doesn’t always work out as intended. Making a plan to vote can help ensure your voice is heard.

“You’re setting yourself up for success when you have a plan — when you know what time you’re going, who you’re going with, where you’re going to vote, what are the voting hours, and when you know what’s on the ballot,” said Sophie Torres, Raise Your Hand Texas’ Regional Advocacy Director for the Greater San Antonio and Coastal Bend region. 

Now is the time to prepare yourself to vote. Start by:

“Whether we vote or not, decisions are being made all around us that are impacting our lives every day. If you don’t vote, then those decisions are made solely by other people,” Torres said. 

Let’s take power into our own hands this election season, and vote. Early voting for Texas’ March 5 primary elections started on February 20. See you at the polls! 

Tags: Candidate Forums GOTV vote

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