The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Exercise…Your Right to Vote

Posted in

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018

As 2018 ushers in a new year, new leaders will be elected to represent us from the statehouse to the courthouse.  At The Cooper Institute, we believe in exercise. That includes exercising your right to vote, and there’s no better time to start than now.  Much like exercise, it’s far too easy though to simply say, “I’ll get around to it when I have time,” but when the time comes to vote, “next time” it is often too late.

Change happens when we demand it, and there is no better way to bring about change than at the ballot box. We must be engaged in the process. We must engage in local, state and national elections, and this year will provide numerous opportunities to exercise our civic duty to vote in elections at all levels. Local decision makers will influence our public school health policies and physical education curriculums, city councils will make decisions on smoke-free policies, state legislatures will make decisions that impact taxes and school finances, and Congress will make decisions that impact healthcare, transportation and everything in between. As a democratic republic, we the people, have a say in how we’re governed. It’s time that more of us exercised that right. 

In the United States alone, there are 224 million eligible voters, 157 million are registered to vote and only 137 million (61.4 percent) actually voted in the last presidential election.  Texas, where The Cooper Institute is headquartered, has a population of nearly 28 million residents. During this past November’s constitutional election only 877,603 out of 15 million registered voters in Texas turned out to vote.  More alarming is the thought that there are 19 million Texans of voting age. Texas will experience one of the busiest campaign seasons in a decade this year, and on a federal level, the 2018 mid-term elections will be here before we know it.

While the state and federal elections receive most of the attention, there are other elections that are equally impactful to our way of life. These include local school board and city council elections. School board elections tend to have the lowest turnout for various reasons.  In Texas, most of these elections occur on a Saturday, including this year’s uniform election date for school board and city council elections. The good news is Texas has an Early Voting process that allows individuals to cast their ballot two weeks before the election date. You can even mail-in your ballot if you plan to be out of town on that particular date.  The General Election in November in Texas will set the stage for our congressional delegation as well as our statewide and local offices, which makes voting critical.

For Texans, here are some important dates to remember:
  • Deadline to register to vote –
    February 5, 2018
  • Early Voting (Primaries) –
    February 20 – March 2
  • Republican and Democratic Primary Elections –
    March 6, 2018
  • Early Voting (School Board and City Council) –
    April 21, 2018 – May 4, 2018
  • School board and city council elections –
    Saturday, May 5, 2018
  • General Election –
    November 6, 2018

You can help advance our mission of promoting life-long health by simply taking part in the election process. So much that impacts our daily lives happens as a result of the legislative process. It’s time we all exercised our voices by voting and ensuring we pass smart, common sense public health policies.

Here is a list of additional resources for identifying when and where local elections are occurring:

Primary Elections by State and territory
Texas Elections
National Association of School Boards
School Board Elections
League of Women Voters