By now, we have all seen the election signs strewn about town. Some large. Some small. Some familiar and some surprising.
They all have one purpose: to receive your vote in upcoming city and school district elections. That process begins Monday with the first of two weeks of early voting and culminates on Election Day Saturday, May 5.
But are taxpayers really paying attention to those signs and the campaigns, ideas and people behind them?
Recent turnout says no.
Last May, 2,264 of the 28,466 registered voters (7.95 percent) cast ballots in the Waxahachie ISD general election to elect two school board candidates.
A voter turnout of just under eight percent.
Judd McCutchen (963) and Clay Schoolfield (943) edged Kim Kriegel (896) and Melissa Starnater (869) in that election.
Fewer than 100 votes separated the highest-vote getter from the fourth.
The turnout was even worse in 2016. Roughly 6.2 percent (1,717) of the 27,324 registered voters exercised their right at the polls. That year saw Dusty Autry (938) and Joe Langley (682) win a seat on the board of trustees.
Langley defeated Floyd Bates by three votes, further proving that every vote does indeed matter.
The turnout was slightly higher in 2015 but around the same in 2014, 13, 12 and 11.
On average, fewer than 10 percent of citizens have ultimately decided who will make multi-million-dollar decisions for the city and its taxpayers over the last seven election cycles.
This is where the Daily Light and its editorial team step in and, hopefully, help break the cycle of low voter turnout.
Our editorial team has sat in on nearly every session of the Waxahachie City Council and Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees over the last umpteen years. We have also extensively covered the situation facing first responders in Ferris.
Because of that exhaustive coverage, we feel it is our duty to endorse on the local level.
Please, do not take the following endorsements as a shot to any candidate or proposal. We respect anyone willing to sacrifice their time and energy to better our communities. It is often a thankless job.
Instead, take the endorsements for what they truly are — our professional opinion based on hours of sitting through mundane meetings and observing the unfoldings.
We fully believe the two boards should reflect the entire community — not just a portion. The members should be of different backgrounds, mindsets, and qualifications.
Balance. That is the ultimate goal.
On A1 today, you will see two articles detailing proposed bonds for Waxahachie ISD and the City of Ferris.
Both are needed and are vital to the future of each entity, which is why we support both bonds.
In April of last year, the Daily Light informed residents just how dangerous the Ferris Police Department was to the health of its officers and staff. The presence of rats and black mold eventually condemned the building and moved the day-to-day police operations to portable trailers. A far from ideal situation for the first responders in Ferris.
Portables may also be a last-resort option in Waxahachie for its elementary students if the proposed $23 million bond to construct North Grove Elementary does not pass.
This bond proposal does not include any bells or whistles. It is to build an elementary school — without raising the ISD's tax-rate — that will be needed as early as fall 2021.
The growth is unavoidable. The school has to be built.
As for the candidates for the Waxahachie City Council and Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees, we feel the following five would best serve the community at-large. They are all qualified and capable.
City Council: Kevin Strength, David Hill, and Melissa Olson.
School board: John Rodgers and Shannon Moyers.
Now, go out and exercise your right to vote.