BY DAVID PERRYMAN
This year’s race for the White House has the seamy underside of politics on full display. The partisan incivility in the presidential campaign has even diverted attention from the fact that polls earlier this year showed that a record high 86% percent of Americans disapprove of Congress and for the first time in memory more people disapprove than approve of their own U.S. senator or congressman.
It is difficult to predict how these factors will affect voter turnout on Nov. 8. Some think that many Oklahoma voters will display their disgust by simply sitting out the entire election. The current disdain for elected officials is understandable, but low voter turnout is the very thing that got us where we are.
While Oklahoma voters can’t do much to affect Washington, DC, the truth is that Oklahoma citizens are more affected by decisions made by Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Legislature than anything the federal government could ever toss our way.
Fortunately, if Oklahoma voters actually cast ballots, they could exercise direct control over what is happening at the state Capitol.
In fact, the words of Harold Hill of Music Man fame fit us to a T. That is “T” as in “Trouble, right here in River City.” That’s Trouble with a capital “T” and that rhymes with “P” and in our case that stands for Public Schools, as in underfunded public schools that are cutting class days and lacking textbooks and unable to pay teachers a living wage.
That “P” also stands for Prisons as in overcrowded and dangerously understaffed with correctional employees who along with thousands of other state employees have not received a raise in over eight years and are seeing their standard of living drop to new lows.
While we are at it, that “T” also rhymes with “C” and together they stand for way too many Tax Credits that have been used by the Oklahoma Legislature to pay back lobbyists and their corporate clients by shoveling more money out the back door of the Oklahoma Tax Commission than is coming through the front door in the form of tax receipts.
Staying home from the polls doesn’t cure the mess in Oklahoma City. There are state questions that need to be voted on and legislative races where men and women who want to make things better need your votes.
The most effective thing that you can do to improve the lives and future of Oklahomans, young and old, is to recognize that Trouble starts with “T” and that rhymes with “V” and that stands for Vote for candidates who will serve you instead of the corporate interests and lobbyists who fund their campaigns.
The last day to register to vote is Friday, Oct. 14.
The last day to request an absentee ballot is Wednesday, Nov. 2.
Early voting at your County Election Board is available on Thursday, Nov. 3; Friday, Nov. 4; and Saturday morning, Nov. 5.
You may vote at your assigned polling location on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
– David Perryman, a Chickasha Democrat, represents District 56 in the Oklahoma House