We must keep fighting to help people vote
Download the Voters' Bill of Rights in English VBOR English SIGNED
Download the Voters' Bill of Rights in Spanish VBOR Spanish SIGNED
By MADHU SRIDHAR
It is disappointing that every election season in Texas, some new barrier is introduced to make casting your ballot cumbersome. The latest is that although you will be able to continue to apply for a mail-in ballot by e-mail or fax, a paper application with an original signature must also be submitted. This application must be received by the county within four business days of submitting the electronic application.
The reason forwarded for this is, once again, to combat voter fraud. And once again, it is nothing but voter suppression. The majority of voters affected by this new law – added by the Legislature to the new Voter ID bill during the special session – are seniors or disabled.
It is especially disheartening for organizations like the League of Women Voters with long-standing commitment to protect voters’ rights and remove barriers from voter par-
ticipation, particularly for minorities.
It was just a couple of weeks back that the San Antonio League was heralding the landmark Texas Voters’ Bill of Rights in English and in Spanish to ensure that Bexar County voters, including Hispanic and Latino voters, are aware of their voting rights at the polls and are empowered on Election Day. Yet here is another measure to thaw our sustained efforts.
But we are the League of Women Voters and our resolve only gets stronger.
Let each of us be the change agent and do what is in our power to get voters to the polling booth.
On the upcoming anniversary of the League of Women Voters on February 14, I urge you to help us disseminate this Texas Voters' Bill of Rights (signed by Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Judge Nelson Wolff and Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen) in our community outreach efforts. Please post the bill on your social media sites. Request organizations you belong to or support to post it on their website. Reach out to radio stations, neighborhood associations, other civic organizations, your elected officials. Start with all your friends and ask them to do the same.
Let’s go viral. As Jacque Callanen said at the signing ceremony, "shout them from the rooftops.”
There is another brochure, Vote: It is in your Best Interest, that is in print and will be available shortly on our website to download just as the Voters’ Bill of Rights is available now. It has a powerful message and hopefully inspires non-voters to vote. I am counting on YOU to help us spread this message.
To share the statistics from the last comparable election in 2014, only 109,430 voters out of 916,408 registered voters cast their ballot. That makes 88% of the registered voters opting out and not participating in the election process. I need your help in reaching out to them.
Come Election Day, it is not the pundits, not the campaign managers, and not even the pollsters who will set the future course of our communities, our state or our nation. On Election Day, no one else matters except the voter.
The Texas Voters’ Bill of Rights and Vote, It’s in Your Best Interest are the League’s attempt with your help to make many more hands cast the ballot.
Let this be our gift to the League on its birthday.