North Texas Daily

Texas constitutional election deserves your attention

Texas constitutional election deserves your attention

Texas constitutional election deserves your attention
October 29
09:00 2021

Every election offers something of great importance. Casting a ballot is meant to be an affirmation of how one wants the next two or four years to play out. Most elections end with an elected official assuming office. However, the Constitutional Amendment and Joint General and Special Elections are not preoccupied with slogans or larger-than-life personalities. Instead, the identity of Texas’ premiere piece of legislation is at stake and deserves the care and attention of all state citizens.

Among the proposed amendments are issues that have either been longstanding conflicts such as charitable raffles at rodeo events, to more recent problems brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposition 1 would allow charitable raffles at rodeo events and consider unauthorized raffles as illegal gambling.

Proposition 2 would authorize counties to issue and raise funds for transportation infrastructure within underdeveloped areas.

Should Proposition 3 pass, the state would be prohibited from limiting or restricting religious services.

Proposition 4 would require applicants to the Texas Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals or a Texas court of appeals to have 10 years of experience practicing law.

Proposition 5 looks to expand the State Commission on Judicial Conduct’s powers by giving them oversight on potential judiciary candidates.

Proposition 6 would give nursing homes the right to designate an “essential caregiver” who would not be barred from in-person visits.

Propositions 7 and 8 both focus on property tax exemptions and breaks related to bereavement, specifically towards surviving spouses married to a disabled person or a service member killed in action.

As previous election cycles have shown, being jaded to the political process has become something of an inevitability. And rightfully so, the “us or them” dichotomy that has taken over modern American politics can easily make cynics out of optimists.

If there is a genuine saving grace to this constitutional election, it is that one’s vote wouldn’t explicitly subscribe to the whims of an elected official. Yes, there are political undertones within many of these propositions, but compared to the noise of mask mandates and “heartbeat bills,” they are a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Previous editorials will likely lead readers to assume our leanings on a given amendment. Take Proposition 3 for instance. It is a clear response from churches being forced to shut down in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Approval of the proposition may seem well-intended but potentially short-sighted. It could create a slippery slope where, since churches would not be beholden to government wishes, places of worship could become hotspots for massive breakouts of COVID-19 and future health crises.

To quote Douglas Laycock, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law: “There are very few occasions or reasons on which it would ever be necessary to shut down a place of worship, but COVID is one.”

Regardless of our stances on a given issue, no opinion or call-to-action can be of much substance if one does not vote.

Let the constitutional election be yet another reminder of the vitality of local or state elections. The overall voter turnout from the 2020 presidential election reaffirmed there are young people who truly care about the nation’s future. There was no shortage of advertisements and social media posts emphasizing the need to fulfill one’s civic duty, especially during a pandemic. Ultimately that election had the results it did because young people made their voices heard.

Elections are meant to be an institution where citizens can affirm how they want an issue to be handled or solved a certain way. State and local elections are vital in instilling immediate and local change. Though some of the propositions involved are not as hard-hitting compared to the ones filling the mainstream airwaves, they are important to someone, and that has to count for something.

Make sure to vote by the early voting deadline of Oct. 29 or election day on Nov. 2.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

About Author

North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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