Editorials

Lots of Texas voters, but not really enough

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Fort Worth’s South Hi Mount Elementary was a polling place for the March 1 primary elections.
Fort Worth’s South Hi Mount Elementary was a polling place for the March 1 primary elections. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

More than 4.2 million Texans voted in the state’s March 1 presidential primary elections — a record turnout, says Secretary of State Carlos Cascos.

But before we get too busy patting ourselves on the back, we have to look at a sobering fact: The number of Texans who voted compared with the number who could have voted is very low.

In fact, only 21.5 percent of Texans 18 and older — the so-called voting-age population — bothered to cast ballots. That’s about 1 in 5.

Northern states shame us. Voting-age turnout in New Hampshire this year was 50.3 percent — half of the potential voters actually voted.

In Vermont the figure was 49 percent, and in Massachusetts 34.3 percent.

Experts point out that demographics make a difference. The Texas population is younger, more Latino and less well-educated than Northern states, all factors linked with lower turnout.

Still, the figures show that many Texans who could be represented in the political process are not — and they should be.

Texas moved its primaries earlier in the year this year so the state could have more impact on the presidential candidate selection process.

Between now and the general election in November, more voter motivation is in order.

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