Why I Vote

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Why don’t Texans vote? Texas turnout rates are consistently among the worst in the nation: 43 percent in the 2016 presidential election, down from 46 percent in 2012. And local and constitutional amendment elections, like the one taking place Nov. 7, often have the lowest turnout.

Experts have different theories to explain low turnout: changing voter ID laws, noncompetitive races caused by redistricting plans, closure of polling places, voter intimidation and voter apathy. But what do voters themselves say?

Raymond Lewis, 71

From Galveston, Texas, cast his first vote in 1968.

The assassination of Dr. King was a huge stimulus for all of us to go and vote.

Kathleen Tortolani, 51

From Allen, Texas, cast her first vote in 1984.

I really had to do the research myself in Texas in order to vote.

Patrick Gilbert, 32

From Navasota, Texas, cast his first vote in 2003.

I felt like I had …  that power — which is to vote.

Diana Ramos, 27

From El Paso, Texas, cast her first vote in 2008.

The more you take a role in being civically engaged, the more your voice is heard.

Charles Hess, 40

From Austin, Texas, cast his first vote in 1996.

I was raised in a house where my parents voted in every election.

Tell us why you vote with #MyTexasTake.


Additional production by

Emily Albracht, Ben Hasson, Jacob Villanueva and Todd Wiseman

Photography by

Ivan Pierre Aguirre, Laura Buckman and Shelby Knowles

Additional photography provided by

Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Bob Daemmrich, Thomas J. O’Halloran, Marion S. Trisoko, Callie Richmond, Frank Wolge, Rowland Scherman, University of Dallas, The Galveston County Daily News and LBJ Presidential Library