Dallas is All Like, 'Voting, Why Bother?'
Turns out, the people of Dallas don't care much for voting -- Dallas County ranked fourth in the state (out of 254 counties) for the fewest ballots cast among voting-age people. Even Harris County had a slightly better turnout, which unfortunately means the Asshole of the Universe, has us beat at something, but narrowly.
Fewer than 8 percent of Dallasites cast a ballot, according to a neat little graphic map created by Texas Tribune -- that's compared with an 11.1 percent turnout across the state.
But why, we wondered, was Dallas' turnout so abysmal? Could it be that we're too cool to vote? Too busy and important? Too caught up with other probably less-important things?
Not really, according to Mark Jones, chair of the department of political science at Rice University. As a county, we're just too young, too poor and too un-white to have a rockstar voter turnout. Jones gave Unfair Park a breakdown.
"The wealthier you are, and the more educated you are, and the older you are, you turn out to vote more," he said.
Also, the 7.7 percent Dallas turnout represents the voters of the voting-age population, but doesn't account for undocumented immigrants who would not be eligible to vote. They can slightly tip the scales. Couple that with the fact that Dallas leans more strongly Democratic than most other counties and that the main voting attraction was the Republican Senate race. And there you have it: hardly any voters.
"I think you see higher turnout in many rural counties," Jones says. "They're older on average, and they have a higher number of Anglos. And many of them are Republican."
In advance of this year's primaries, Jones penned a Houston Chronicle editorial urging people to vote and explaining that in Texas, more often than not, the primaries determine the candidate. Primary voters (re: one in 10 Texans) "call the shots." Yet three times as many people vote in the general election -- and it jumps to four or five times in a presidential election year.
In the Texas general elections this year, Jones estimates that two of 36 state House races will be competitive, and about one in 36 Senate races. Voting in the general election will for the most part "be symbolic throughout the state," he says.
So either vote in the July 31 runoffs, settle for symbolism in November or go ahead and embrace your apathy.
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