The November 6 mid-term General Election is shaping up with many good candidates and considerable political fodder for marketing gurus. When you hear the next amazing fact that sounds too good to be true or an out-of-context statement excoriating a political opponent, remember it is the job of marketing experts to make their candidate appear superhuman and their opponent seem weak. Do not let political ads goad you into voting based solely on an emotional reaction!

The problem with all the marketing glam and sham is that it works! It’s easy to get caught up in the spectator sport of politics and take sides based on how we feel instead of what will help us achieve our priorities. It’s fun to watch the commercials, but it’s a show with the purpose of making viewers act on instinct instead of reason.

Here is a simple plan to remind TRTA members why we encourage you to vote based on facts and what we stand for as educators. Use these tips to reflect on your emotions after seeing the same commercial for the 50th time or receiving yet another mud-slinging flyer in the mail.

Answer these five grounding questions about voting:

Why? It is simple. As public servants, our livelihood (monthly annuities, health care, and Social Security) and the programs young Texans need to carry us into the future are determined by elected officials. Our unified voice is our strongest asset, helping us elect leaders who care about our priorities and make them their priorities.

What? This non-presidential mid-term election features a U.S Senate race, all U.S congressional seats, Texas statewide leaders (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, Agriculture Commissioner, and Land Commissioner), half the Texas State Senate and all Texas State House Representatives. You must be registered to vote! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. TRTA leaders are pushing for 100 percent voter registration for the TRTA membership. Just do it!

When? Voter registration ends on October 9. Today is National Voter Registration Day. Early voting for the General Election begins on October 22 and continues through November 2. Election day is November 6. Mail-in ballots can be requested through October 26. Request them now and send them in when early voting begins to ensure your ballot arrives on time.

How? Voter turnout is determined by motivation to act. Motivation can stem from fear and anger, which is what political consultants want; but motivation can be strategic and based on priorities, such as our economic future. Voters decide who wins, and elected officials work for us–not the other way around! However, democracy is not a spectator sport! Please plan to vote early and then persuade every educator you know to vote in this election, particularly active educators.

Who? You decide who to vote for and your vote is private, so no one will know unless you tell them.  TRTA does not endorse candidates or political parties, but we do encourage you to consider our priorities and who you think best supports public education overall. We encourage you to talk to TRTA local unit legislative committee chairs and people you trust who have the same priorities as you to get the facts you need. You can also go to the following websites to research candidates’ stances on education and retiree issues.

www.vote411.org

www.teachthevote.org

www.texaseducatorsvote.com

The Texas Tribune election app

These non-partisan sources contain personalized ballots, links to the candidate websites, candidate surveys, voting records, a list of candidates who pledge to stand by education principles, and more. Talk to your friends, attend campaign forums, or contact the candidates to glean more information.

We hope this simple list helps you consider what’s at stake before you vote. There are only fourteen days until the voter registration deadline. Keep up the good work, stay focused, and stay tuned to the Inside Line as we near election day.

Next Tuesday, we will feature a special detailed message about TRTA’s priorities from the state legislative committee.