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Forum effort an aid to voters

Kudos to Austin-area businessman Victor D. Dunn for organizing voter forums in several Texas cities, including Denton.

Dunn hopes the effort will encourage more people to register to vote in time for local elections.

He told us he has been troubled that people turn out for presidential elections, but seem to believe local elections don’t matter and take the outcome for granted.

“The tax rates and local services affect lives more than state and national elections do,” Dunn said. “It’s where the rubber meets the road.”

Dunn doesn’t have to sell us on the importance of local elections. We publicize city and school races extensively. Through the years, we have printed countless articles and announcements about local elections, interviewed thousands of candidates and tried to get the word out about an untold number of candidate forums.

We also devote space on our opinion page for editorials like this one encouraging residents to register to vote and participate in local elections and for letters to the editor with your views about the various candidates.

Dunn runs a travel business, but since the primary election, he has been organizing public forums for local elections under the umbrella of a nonpartisan group, the Texas Voters Alliance.

“We don’t endorse; we have no agenda; we only seek to educate voters,” Dunn said.

He is scheduling as many events as he can before April 10, which is the last day for residents to register to vote for the May 10 election. Early voting begins April 28.

He has been targeting communities where he has some familiarity, he said. He went to school in Denton, hence his efforts here.

All of the Denton candidates have agreed to participate in a forum scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 3, Dunn said.

The group has secured a small room at the University of North Texas for the event, but Dunn is hoping to secure a larger space through the political science department. He said he plans to announce the final location soon. The group has a public Facebook page,

Dunn hopes to make the event accessible to students, reminding them to check their voter registration before it’s too late, since some may be registered to vote at their permanent address, rather than their school address.

We appreciate Dunn’s efforts, and we hope there is a good turnout for the forum he is organizing and others planned in advance of the May 10 city and school board elections.

We need to encourage all residents to become registered voters and then work to get them to the polls.

As Dunn pointed out, local elections can affect our lives more quickly and directly than state and national elections do, and we need to make sure they are a priority.