our opinions: ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT In The Comfort Zone Just Vote! Brett Hobson By BRETT HOBSON CEO Comfort Experts Y 96 ou would have to be truly unaware to not have noticed the yard signs, advertisements on radio, tele- vision and in this magazine that signal it’s election time again in Parker County. The upcoming election on March 6 is the primary election where we decide who will repre- sent our chosen political party in the general election in November. Voting is one of our greatest privileges and one of our greatest responsibilities. In 2014, the last time that we had a primary without a presidential election, only 41 percent of registered voters took the opportunity to weigh in on who is going to lead our county. The totals in 2016 were a little better, with 66 percent of registered voters going to the polls. While this is impressive, the numbers aren’t as impressive when you look at how few residents even register. Looking at the county as a whole, only 23 percent of the county even cared to say who they wanted as our next president. Around the world, voting is something that people are dying to try. According to the Pew Center, the United States ranks 28 in the world among developed countries in number of citizens who are voting. There are 20 countries in the world where you cannot vote for your leaders. In several countries, women still can’t vote in 2018. There are even 22 countries where you are compelled by law to vote. So why don’t we vote? Our county has made it easy to vote, and you could have already voted since early voting in six different loca- tions began Feb. 20. Perhaps you didn’t vote because you didn’t know how you are impacted by some of the races at the end of the ballot. Here’s some information about the jobs you are choosing leaders for: County Judge: The main duties of the county judge are to serve as presiding officer of the county commissioners’ court, judge of the county court, and budgeting officer of the county; he also has numerous duties pertaining to elections and a host of judicial duties including probate. Judge County Court at Law: Presides over cases appealed from justice of the peace and municipal courts. District Clerk: Process and prepare documents such as government forms, letters, memos, billings and reports. Review files, records and other documents to obtain infor- mation to respond to requests from the public, the court, lawyers, judges and other elected officials. County Clerk: Is responsible for filing vital records, or important documents related to a specific county’s popu- lation, including birth, death and marriage certificates. County Treasurer: These public servants are responsi- ble for sending tax bills, receiving the funds and collecting overdue payments. Justice of the Peace: Depending on which precinct you are in, you might be voting for a JP candidate. These lead- ers oversee the Justice of Peace Courts, which are lower courts in Texas. They have jurisdiction over minor crimi- nal offenses and minor civil cases. County Chairman: There is one for each of the majority political parties in each county. The chair is an informa- tion source to the local media and is the head of the party in their county. They appoint members to committees, preside at meetings and manage the activities of their party. They also administer the primary election including all volunteers. They also organize the precinct chairs. Precinct Chairman: A precinct chair is the local repre- sentative of the Democratic or Republican Party and its candidates at the neighborhood, grass-roots level in each voting precinct. My advice is to try to get to know some of the candi- dates before Election Day and access their skills and back- grounds based on the above job descriptions. There are various candidate forums you can attend and hear each of the candidates speak. Find one who most closely mirrors the opinions you hold on the issues you think are impor- tant. Incumbent or challenger, Republican or Democrat, top of the ticket or the bottom, all of these jobs are important to you every day. The people who have thrown their hats in the ring are serious about representing you and your best interests, and have invested lots of time and money to get your attention and your vote. It doesn’t really matter who you vote for – just vote!