Every few years, East Dallas mailboxes are inundated with colorful glossy card stock advertisements promoting and slinging mud upon local municipal candidates.
To the chagrin of those who work on local campaigns, the same 14 East Dallas residents have decided each of the last 7 municipal elections, due to low voter turnout.
Ethyl Thomas, Gladys Shersinger, and Inocencia Gonzalez are three retired women who live in District 14, and have voted in every election for the last 50 years. Their votes have been part of the deciding factor to elect the last few school board and city council members.
"We have the time to do the candidate research, drive around to find the right voting location, and haven't moved in decades, so we are in a good position to be one of the 14 people to decide the election," Shersinger commented.
"Most people don't know what a school trustee is," Thomas said. "I am not sure I know either, but I have the time and a sense of my civic duty, so I vote."
Seven of the 14 residents who decide the elections are what the neighborhood calls "Lakewood Moms." These upper middle-class women have kids in school all day, spend most of their days at 10 AM exercise classes, planning PTA events, shopping for yoga pants, and compulsively posting on Facebook. Though the don't agree on everything, they all wear athleisure-wear and vote.
One of these mothers, Stacy Avalon, has hosted both candidates for meet and greets in her modern pool house. The meetings are usually attended only by the 6 women in her book club (which is mostly drinking wine and complaining about their marriages).
Rachel Meadow, whose White Rock Moms Who Walk group has once discussed politics, is one of the 14 who usually decides these elections. "I just want lower taxes, better schools, bigger parks, and more policeman keeping us safe," she said, exposing her lack of knowledge about how government is funded.
The final 4 voters who decide the election are made up of two crunchy couples who went to college in Denton and became political activists, the Holgranes and the Kails . They usually hold Kombucha and patchouli fueled rallies through the neighborhood, and have an unsafe number of bumper stickers on the back windshield of their Subarus. Star Kail, who is a professional beekeeper when she isn't painting signs for local marches, sees the advantage in voter apathy. "Honestly, if people don't vote, my vote counts more. I'm fine with it."