If early voting numbers are any indication ó and they probably are ó interest in Tuesdayís election on 16 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution is weak.
Unfortunately, thatís the historic reaction among voters, who seem to enjoy mixing it up politically when peopleís names are on the ballot, but are either blas/ or overwhelmed when it comes to issues. Regardless of the reasons, it translates to extremely low voter turnout on election day.
This year, this is especially a shame ó unless you subscribe to the philosophy that itís better for someone who doesnít understand the issues and prefers not to do the homework to stay home. Is it better for an uninformed voter not to cast a ballot at all? The best outcome would be for a large number of registered voters to study the propositions, carefully weighing the pros and cons, and then vote.
Itís a shame because several of these amendments are significant steps for state government. Propositions 2, 4, 12, 15 and 16 would authorize the state to borrow money for various programs and projects, with different amounts of risk and costs to state taxpayers. Proposition 4 includes funding that will result in improvements to facilities like Lake Brownwood State Park and facilities for the Texas Youth Commission and Texas prison system. Proposition 15 would create a fund that supporters say would make Texas a leader in the fight against cancer. Each proposition is important to various groups in the state, even if they donít necessarily affect us all. Proposition 1, which would ensure that Angelo State University continues to receive system funding as it goes under the Texas Tech umbrella, is one example.
Itís true that in a representative form of government, the people elect those who are assigned the task of examining such matters. Our state representatives and senators in the 80th Legislature have done that on these 16 proposed amendments, and their majority votes in favor of them can be taken as their recommendation for approval.
But Texans have for generations chosen to reserve certain decisions for themselves, and under government by the people, thatís our right. Thatís our privilege. Thatís also our duty and responsibility. Itís no less significant as a measure of love of country than symbolic actions like standing at attention during the National Anthem.
Thatís not to say Americans should neglect saluting the flag. But each American should consider casting an informed ballot on election day to be a parallel act of patriotism.