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Democracy in action

‘No form of participation is more important than voting’

Created date

October 23rd, 2012

When it comes to politics, Patty Jantho likes to be informed. So it s no surprise that when she decided to move to Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas, earlier this year, one of her first priorities was to arrange delivery of the Sunday edition of the New York Times. The first Sunday after I moved in, I saw the paper s shadow under my door, says Patty. I was so excited, because I couldn t get the physical paper at my apartment in Plano. I had to get my news online.

Political passion

Patty, president of the Collin County League of Women Voters, is nurturing a passion she s had since childhood. I ve always been interested in politics, she says. When I was in school, my friends would jokingly call me by the names of elected officials. Patty graduated with a degree in political science from Northwestern University. Before she retired, she was the associate director of alumni at the University of Maryland. My husband and I lived in Baltimore before we moved to Plano in 2007 to be closer to our daughter, she says. I was a vice president of the League of Women Voters in Baltimore. When we moved to Texas, I joined the Collin County League of Women Voters. I ve served as president for the past four years. The League of Women Voters is a national, nonpartisan political group. It was founded in February 1920, six months before the 19th amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote. No form of participation in the democratic process is more important than voting, says Patty. The league s mission is to give voters the knowledge they need to vote with confidence and intelligence. We don t support political parties or candidates, but we do advocate on issues of public policy.

Similar pursuits

Now that she s moved to Highland Springs, Patty is likely to run into other civic-minded residents. The community s government affairs group, formed shortly after Highland Springs opened in 2006, has a purpose similar to that of the League of Women Voters. Our goal is to educate our residents about the candidates, public policy, and the issues that affect us directly, says president Oscar Burchard. We re non-partisan we don t encourage residents to vote one way or another but we encourage them to make informed decisions. Toward that end, the government affairs group regularly sponsors candidate forums at Highland Springs. Ahead of the May primary, the community hosted a forum for U.S. Senate candidates. The government affairs group also makes sure residents are equipped to vote. We provide voter registration forms, applications for absentee ballot forms, and voter information regarding important dates and polling locations, says group member Glee Pitney. On election days, we provide shuttle service to polling stations.

Highest voter turnout in Collin County

Residents commitment to the democratic process is evident in the numbers. Highland Springs, which comprises all of Precinct 164, had the highest voter turnout in Collin County for both the May 29 primary and the July 31 runoff. On May 29, we had a voter turnout of 37% compared with the Collin County average of 12%, says Glee. On July 31, Highland Springs participation rate was 35%, compared with the 10% average in Collin County. Glee says he anticipates an even higher turnout for the November 6 election. I think our participation could be as high as 90%, he says. We re a community that gets out to vote.

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