Brown Countyís election administration office received significant recognition Monday when Secretary of State Phil Wilson presented a certificate for its voter registration efforts. The majority of the residents of this county ó almost 25,000 people ó can claim a share of that honor because they are among the civic-minded citizens who have registered to vote.

Itís crucial that every eligible citizen be registered. Those who fail to do so yield their opportunity to make their opinion matter when elected officials are chosen and important issues are decided.

If you arenít registered, thereís still time to do so before the November constitutional election. The deadline is Oct. 9, and it can be done on the Texas Secretary of Stateís Web site or at the county administratorís office at the Brownwood Coliseum Annex. Texans have other opportunities to register also, including the one when you apply for or renew a driverís license.

As important as registering to vote is, another step in this process is no less crucial. It is actually casting your ballot. In the 2004 presidential election, the vote which seems to garner the highest participation, just over 14,000 of almost 26,000 registered voters came to the polls. The 55.5 percent turnout is outstanding compared to other elections, and it is only a fraction below the 56.6 overall voter turnout statewide in 2004. But for a county that takes as much pride in being connected politically as Brown County does, ďaverageĒ should not be acceptable when it comes to voter turnout.

No one expects a 55 percent turnout for an election like the one being held this November, in which only 16 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution are on the ballot. But some important issues will be on the ballot, and more people should want to have their opinion counted.

Brownwood Bulletin