Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) have been getting involved in the political process this election season, ready to elect officials who will represent their interests and protect their health care program!

Have you voted already?  You can still vote early through February 28 and Primary Election day is March 4. We encourage you to vote early, but above all, to VOTE!

Very few voters make it out during the Primary, but this is when your vote counts the most! Most political races in Texas are determined DURING THE PRIMARY ELECTION, not the November General Election! Please make some time over the next few days to go to the polls!

How Many Voters Participate in the Primary Election?

Have a look at the historical statistics provided by the Secretary of State here.

In 2012, during the Primary Election, there were 13,065,425 registered voters. For the Republican primary, 1,449,477 people voted, a mere 11.09%. In the Democratic Primary, 590,164 people voted, only 4.52% of registered voters. Those numbers were even lower in the Primary Runoff Elections in July 2012, when 8.51% of voters voted in the Republican Runoff and 1.81% voted in the Democratic Runoff.

According to the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, only 2% of registered voters have voted in the March 2014 Primary Election so far.

This information tells us that VOTES MATTER IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION. Even a handful of votes can sway the results of a Primary Election. TRTA, with its nearly 80,000 members, has the ability to influence elections if all our members cast their votes!

Are you using your influence? Although getting out to vote is not always convenient, it is a vital part of our grassroots advocacy efforts! (Voting early, between now and February 28, may be easier for some members, because you do not have to vote in your precinct. You may vote at any location convenient for you within your county. Review early voting locations in your area here).

It is essential that we elect Senators and Representatives that support TRS-Care and the TRS pension fund. In our previous Voter Health Series articles, we discussed several contested and open seats in the Primary election. A large number of our elected officials will be NEW or have less than two years of experience by the time the next legislative session begins in January 2015. Please review these races and determine if you are impacted!

Even if you are not a constituent in one of the districts mentioned in our contested and open seat races, your vote still matters! So do the votes of your fellow retirees, friends, neighbors and family! It is likely that only about 10% of residents in your town will vote in this election cycle. The votes of even 10 to 100 more people can drastically alter the results of a race. The votes of 80,000 public education retirees WILL make a difference!

Thank you for being a member of TRTA! Remember, you are a valued member of our organization, and your vote in the Primary Election is also valuable! Use your power and vote! If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, contact us at 1.800.880.1650.