Know the people on your ballot who aren’t the presidential candidates

AB Boyd | Cartoonist

We all know the two biggest names running for the president this yearbut what about the rest of the ballot?

During a presidential election, it’s easy to become focused on the race for president. However, it is so important to be an informed voter and to make sure you know who you’re voting for besides the president. Local elections are just as important and are often forgotten about, and that needs to change.

While it may be easy to choose candidates based on political affiliation or just out of random selection, it’s our duty as citizens to learn about the other positions up for election, and how each candidate is looking to make an impact if elected.

While each state’s ballot varies, most commonly you’ll find candidates running for Senate, House of Representatives, Board of Education, judges to be elected into various courts and other positions unique to your state. Before you head to the polls or mail in your ballot, start out by doing research on the other positions up for election. Next, look at each candidate running and what they plan to do if elected.

For those of you voting in McLennan County, your ballot will contain the candidates running for: President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Texas Railroad Commissioner, Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Texas Supreme Court Justices, Judges for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Member of the State Board of Education, Court of Appeals Justices, District Judges, Sheriff, County Tax-Assessor Collector and the County Commissioner.

There may be positions on the ballot that you’ve never heard of before, but that doesn’t mean they’re less important or don’t have an impact on you directly. A position like the Texas Railroad Commissioner may not be common knowledge — however, the Railroad Commission of Texas is in charge of regulating the oil and gas industry. Depending on your state, you have the power to vote in your Sheriff, and also can vote on those on the Board of Education, which regulates public schools and their curricula.

While it may not seem like local elections are important compared to federal ones, the candidates voted into office in the local elections will have much more of an impact on you and your community than you might realize. While the higher-up, federal positions in government make the decisions on big laws, the local governments are the ones who interact with and advocate for their communities on a daily basis. Additionally, local elections get people into politics, and these positions will train them if they are to be elected into higher positions in the future.

Do your part, do your research and head to the polls on Nov. 3 (or earlier) informed about your local elections.