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#SA2020Says: Facebook Science and Voting

By SA2020 | Nov 13 2014

Sometimes, SA2020 has something to say. This is #SA2020Says.

Well kids, we’re wrapping up another midterm election, and here in Bexar County and Texas we’ve got some new elected officials headed into office. Hopefully you heard the call and exercised your right, because our system of government depends on you lending your voice. The more voices in the mix, the stronger our representation!

I-voted

Did you know that just talking about voting helps increase turnout? We know that it takes 3 touch-points to turn a non-voter into a voter—just three!—and you could be one. If each person reminds just ONE other person to vote, then we should be well on our way to meeting – and surpassing – our SA2020 goal.

Many of you probably saw that Facebook included an app on Election Day to let people share that they’d voted—that wasn’t just for funsies, that was based on real data that showed people are more likely to vote if they’re reminded that they’re friends are voting. So go ahead, share and share and share! Be the touch-point. Be the reminder.

voter app

This year the turnout was a bit lower than the last midterm in 2010. There were 303,971 ballots cast out of 959,438 registered voters (31.7%), and 2010 saw 308,655 ballots cast out of 903,068 registered voters (34.2%). For all the numbers, check out the results here.

SA2020 measures local voter turnout rates in municipal elections to keep track of progress toward our goal of becoming a more civically engaged community with stronger representation and accountability. Even though this year’s dip in turnout won’t be measured in SA2020 indicators, we should let it serve as a reminder that there’s no way we can reach any of our goals without individuals stepping up.

Our data from 2011 and 2013 suggest that municipal turnout is improving, but we’ll need to increase turnout faster than our current rate if we’re to reach our goal of 14.73% by 2020.

It’s also not over yet—a city council seat is up for election in District 2, establishing a new councilmember after Mayor Ivy Taylor was appointed to follow Julián Castro as he shifted to his new position as HUD Secretary. This election was so close, particularly between current interim appointment Keith Toney and candidate Alan Warrick II both receiving about 32% of the vote. If you live in District 2, or know someone who does (we bet you do) make sure to let them know that the runoff election will be held December 9th, and that even one vote matters! (the two were separated by only 80 votes. That means that a few classrooms of graduating seniors could probably have swayed that vote, jussayin’.)

And just because the elections are over doesn’t mean that civic engagement is on “pause” until May. There’s still a lot of important ways to be engaged, and it all starts with being informed. Know who you representatives are, know what issues are on the docket, and let them know how you feel. This new-fangled “e-mail” thing makes connecting with elected officials easier than ever! Check out this list (which will update as soon as the new folks take office) to see who your representatives are and how to contact them.

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