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A fundamental element of effective democracy is the principle that all eligible citizens should participate in fair and open elections. The framers of the Constitution established the Unites States as a representative democracy that relies on civic engagement. The court unanimously approved a proclamation declaring September 2015 as Valley Voter Awareness Month, and encourages all citizens to exercise their right to vote.
Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon introduced Albert Morales, Project Coordinator for Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas (AACT). Morales stated that the Rio Grande Valley has historically had low voter turnout. Although between 2010 and 2014 voter registration rates increased by 72 percent, only about 24 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the 2014 mid-term election.
"Our organization's outreach reaches the community in a meaningful way urging them to practice their right to get out and vote," said Morales.
In order to reach those who have not fully embraced their rights and responsibilities as citizens, the community must expand opportunities for voter education and nonpartisan voter registration. Vital contributions in this regard can be made by grassroots organizations, by the media, by educational, cultural, and religious institutions, and by other entities in both the public and private sector.
"Across the Rio Grande Valley, there is an urgent need to increase participation in the electoral process." said UTRGV VP of Governmental and Community Relations Veronica Gonzalez who read a resolution approved by the 84th Legislature of the state of Texas House of Concurrent Resolution No. 119, to the court, designating September as Valley Voter Awareness Month.
A community event is scheduled to be held on Sept. 9, 2015 at the Edinburg Conference Center (5501 S. McColl, Edinburg) from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
The court encourages Hidalgo County residents to exercise their right to vote and to promote participation in the electoral process to their friends, families and neighbors in local, state and national elections.