Early voting starts April 29 for the May 11 local elections. City councils, school boards and bond programs affect people and their wallets, but turnout is notoriously low for these races. How can elections be improved to boost participation?Just voteI've never really understood why voter turnout in local elections is so low. ... It's the one opportunity each of us has to have an impact on how we are governed locally -- the ramifications of which we will realize every day, especially if you have children in the public school system. Even if the person you vote for doesn't win, the mere act of voting sends an important message.It says, I CARE! I care about what happens in our city and schools, I am watching and you will hear from me if you make decisions I don't think are in the best interest of the community.Low voter turnout in local elections sends the message to those who are ultimately elected that you can do whatever you want because I didn't even care enough to vote in the first place.Your vote is your voice. Su voto es su voz.I give this little speech every opportunity I get, and this local election year I will be organizing a "Let's Vote Together" outing for my neighborhood friends that will begin with food and fellowship and culminate with a carpool to the election polls.-- Veronica Villegas, Fort WorthStop ballot tricksHow to improve elections? I suggest Fort Worth arrange with the Tarrant County Elections Office that registered voters may vote if they are not listed as a cemetery occupant or voting for others.Common sense expects our city "corporation" to pay debts before replacing existing libraries and fire stations. Marketing unneeded "for profit" infill housing in neighborhoods increases Crime Control and Prevention District sales tax revenue to add more police and raises property taxes.We lose trust in the City Council when we watch bond election money that was approved for one project hopscotch around to be spent for a different project. Bond election language plays tricks.The regional transportation plan surprised us with wide highways and expensive train lines, but streets narrowed for increased car traffic and bike lanes.-- Beverly Branham, Fort WorthRescue beerTell voters they're taking away beer, porn, guns and wrestling. There will be lines of ready voters circling the city.-- Angelo Peña, Fort WorthPostal planHold elections by mail.-- Gary Lewandowski, North Richland HillsMake it socialPost election information on Facebook.-- Danielle Isbill Ungerleider, Fort WorthElect new bloodThe reason for low turnouts is in part that folks are fed up with all the pandering and political posturing candidates have to offer to their constituents. The one who prevaricates the best seems to get the reward of office.The public has been victimized enough, and the best way to get things on track again is to vote out incumbent officials who are derelict in their duty. By luck of the draw, we may be able to elect new blood to office that has the wherewithal to do something for the voters besides collect a paycheck and other gratuities.-- Darlene Rogers, Fort WorthSimplify, simplifyI have two poll tax receipts for the amount of $1.75 dated Jan. 4, 1960, and signed by Reed Stewart, Tax Assessor for Tarrant County. We had more voter participation when we had to pay to vote. Today, officials take bond election voting booths to schools and other places mainly to target favorable voters to whatever the cause. This does not help the general voter turnout.Reduce early voting time, reduce complexity of paperwork, reduce candidate rhetoric via mail and media (this irritates people), reduce corruption by elected officials, keep precinct voting locations in the same place every year, reduce election officials spending too much time and money on exceptions such as provisional voters rather than majority of voters.-- Jack O. Lewis, Haltom City
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