Change.

That's what presidential candidates and voters alike have said they want this year — change in politics and change in the way that our federal government operates. Voters young and old went to the polls in record-shattering numbers for Tuesday's Texas primaries — a sure sign that they are fired up and ready to make change happen.

Here's a challenge for every one of them: If you really mean it, keep voting. Don't stop now.

To say you have done your part for change by voting in this election would be like Billy Ray Cyrus patting himself on the back for singing Achy Breaky Heart. One-hit wonders don't count (and Billy Ray has gone on to better things, thank goodness).

Stay involved in presidential politics and vote again in the Nov. 4 general election.

Just as important — and maybe with even more direct impact on your daily life, your home and your family — vote in the local city council and school board elections that will be held May 10 in many jurisdictions.

The Texas secretary of state's office reported Wednesday that more than 4.2 million people cast ballots in the Republican and Democratic primaries — a turnout of 33.2 percent of the state's registered voters. The previous record was set in the 1988 presidential primary: 2.7 million voters and a 22.7 percent turnout.

In Tarrant County, the count was 301,957 voters in the two party primaries — a 33.6 percent turnout.

In contrast, city council and school board candidates typically struggle and beg to get people to the polls. Last year's election for Arlington mayor drew less than 7 percent of eligible voters; the hottest race on the council ballot drew less than 11 percent. It was the same story in Fort Worth. In Keller, the bitterly contested race for mayor saw an almost unheard-of 15.2 percent voter turnout — and on the same day, a turnout of less than 9 percent filled three seats on the Keller school board.

Please don't make this year's thrilling Texas presidential primary the Achy Breaky Heart of elections.

There are rock stars among the candidates for city council and school board. Once elected, they make momentous decisions and command huge forces of people who fight wars against ignorance, poverty, potholes, out-of-control taxes and, yes, people who would destroy our property and do us great harm. Among them are women and men who have devoted years of their lives to helping others —blacks and whites and people from various ethnic groups, even war heroes and people who can give inspiring speeches.

But you have to pay attention, and you have to vote for the ones you believe will do the best job. You might even have to become one of them yourself and run for office.

If the people who voted in Tuesday's election do that — if they care enough to continue in large numbers what they started in the presidential primaries — it can't help but bring real change.

If that many people participate, it will be change that we can believe in.

URL: http://www.star-telegram.com

—Fort Worth Star-Telegram