Palmview wants higher voter registration

PALMVIEW — The city has set a goal to increase voter registration among its residents and hopes neighboring cities will be moved to take similar action.

The city council approved an initiative by interim City Manager Leo Olivares to increase voter registration to 65 percent.

“We’re getting ready to have a general election, and voter participation in the Valley tends to lag that of the state,” Olivares told the city council on Tuesday. “So we thought it might be a good idea to have the city work on increasing registration for residents of Palmview.”

The council and city employees who wish to participate would undergo training on how to register people to vote upon their visits to city hall.

With the city council members, specifically, Olivares said he believed they could reach residents to register and vote.

“They are constantly talking to folks and they’re in a great position to get folks registered,” he said after the city council meeting. “But also our city employees, we want to get them involved in this.”

Data provided by the Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas — or AACT, a nonprofit that supports voter registration efforts — showed voter turnout during the 2014 midterm elections was 32.3 percent. Turnout for the 2016 presidential election was 53.35 percent.

Through the resolution the council approved on Tuesday, the city set a goal of 65 percent registered voters.

“We’re just basically trying to draw attention to this issue in terms of the city,” Olivares said, “but we also want to challenge other cities to kind of a friendly competition to see how many folks they can register and try to have this spread throughout the Valley.”

He acknowledged the effort was being launched a bit “late in the game” given there’s less than 100 days until the elections in November.

“A little too late but better than nothing,” he said.