Municipal elections have local, lasting effects


The average age of voters in SA is 63. The average age of San Antonio residents is 34.

David Wenske

If the 2016 presidential election taught me one critical lesson, it is that every vote matters. Millions lined up at voting booths across the country in a measly effort to direct our nation in what we saw as the better direction. With the national election now settled, a new election is approaching voters on May 6: the San Antonio municipal elections. I will admit, this election flew under my radar until very recently, but as a person who cares about the future of my hometown, I will now be voting. Here’s why you should too.

As a San Antonian, the results of local elections are real and tangible. It’s what molds the community around me and determines what choices are made to make my city a better place. On this year’s ballot there are a series of six bonds totaling around $850 million dollars, the largest in San Antonio history. These bonds are designated to fund various projects around the city, addressing transportation, parks, public safety and flood control improvements, among other issues. I will be voting on these issues because they effect the roads I drive every day, the parks I visit, and the security of me and my neighbors.

Unfortunately, voter participation in local elections is abysmal. In 2015, municipal elections in San Antonio saw a whopping 14 percent participation rate among eligible voters and only 3.6 percent among 18 to 35 year olds. Furthermore, the average age of a voter in a municipal election—63—is much higher than the average age of a San Antonio resident—34. This means the values and concerns of the average SA resident are not being fully represented. I believe last year’s presidential election sparked an interest in understanding the importance and participating in our nation’s democratic processes, especially among voters my age.

Ivy Taylor, the current mayor of San Antonio, is running for re-election against Ron Nirenberg and Manuel Medina. Eleven city council districts seats are open for the taking. This year’s municipal election is not only an excellent time to begin participating in local politics, but an excellent time to make a change in your community.