Texas in desperate need of larger voter turnout - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Texas in desperate need of larger voter turnout


East Texas conservatives are calling on each other to get out of their homes, educate themselves and prepare for an active campaign season.     

Friday night, a national non-profit organization, FreedomWorks, is in Tyler, training volunteers and activists for next spring's elections.

"This is very much a conservative effort to build the conservative base. It's not affiliated with any political party. We welcome people that are conservative democrats, conservative independents and conservative republicans who want less government and more freedom to join us at the FreedomWorks event," says event organizer JoAnn Fleming.

Fleming says the event is about teaching East Texans the best ways to inform themselves and then taking that information to the polls when selecting conservative candidates.

"In East Texas, we value traditional values and we want less government... not more. We want the government to stay out of our businesses and out of our pocketbooks as much as possible," she says.

Fleming says if conservatives don't get moving, then Texas could soon turn blue, and local democrats agree.

"Absolutely. It's possible if we can motivate voters about how important their vote is, Texas can go blue very quickly," says Texas Democratic Party Chairwoman D. Karen Wilkerson.

Wilkerson, who works with the Smith County Democratic Party says Texas isn't a red state as much as it's a non-voting state.

A University of Texas at Austin study used 2011 Census data to determine that Texas ranked 51st in voter turn out. The Lone Star State came in last, after Washington D.C. The findings also said Texas ranked 42nd in voter registration.

"Every citizen needs to be at the polls no matter what race, age, income, job, what their interests are. It is in everyone's best interest to become informed and vote," says Wilkerson.

The importance of informed voting...sometimes the only thing that people on both sides of the aisle can agree on.

Friday's event is hosted by the East Texas conservative group, Grassroots America. They say it's the beginning of a state-wide kickoff to unite their voting base. The doors open at 6:00 p.m. The event lasts from 6:30-8:30 p.m at Lakeview Church of the Nazarene at 10818 University Boulevard in Tyler.

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