Get Registered To Vote & Other Important Voting Information
The first of three presidential debates took place this Monday. Secretary Hillary Clinton showed why she is the best choice to be our next President. She showed poise under the pressure of the debate, knowledge of the issues that everyday people face, and presented clear plans to move America forward. In contrast, Donald Trump spent a lot of time trying to deny statements he had made in the past, trying to talk over and interrupt Secretary Clinton, and continued to present plans that at best can be described as vague. The debate crystallized why voting this year will be so important to our future.
But, beyond the Presidency there are important races all the way up and down the ballot this year. To vote on all these important races, you will need to be registered to vote. The October 11th, deadline to register to vote is quickly approaching. To avoid a last minute rush, register today if you are not already registered. If you have voted in the past, still live in the same location and have not changed your name you are most likely already registered to vote. But, if you are unsure whether or not you are registered you can check by clicking here. If you are not yet registered to vote or need to make a change, you can fill out the voter registration form online by clicking here. However, after filling the form out you will need to print it out and mail it to the address on the form (address varies based on your location). If you need help getting registered to vote or have questions, please click here or call my office at (512) 461-3899.
The right to vote is something that many of us take for granted ─ but we shouldn’t. Beyond the fact that there is a long history of people fighting for the right to vote, there is a current siege on our right to vote. Over the last decade, there has been a coordinated effort to deny people of color the right to vote. Those efforts include voter ID laws, cutting back the number of early voting days, and making it more difficult to register to vote.
Those efforts to oppress voting rights have happened all over the country, with a particular focus on key swing states were Presidential elections and control of Congress can be decided. One of those states is North Carolina. Thankfully, North Carolina’s voter ID law was struck down this summer because it was found to discriminate against people of color in violation of the Voting Rights Act. In that case the “North Carolina Legislature ‘requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices’ — then, data in hand, ‘enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.” (click here to read more). These Jim Crow style voting restricting laws have also been put forth in the swing states of Georgia, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Even though many of these laws are eventually ruled unconstitutional ─ it takes so long for the courts to reach a final decision that many times these oppressive laws are in effect for at least one general election. That is the main reason why Congress needs to re-craft and reinstate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires that voting laws receive preclearance from the U.S. Attorney General before going into effect.
Texas’ Voter ID law is one such law that it took awhile for the courts to eventually rule unconstitutional. Since the Texas Legislature has not had an opportunity to fix the unconstitutional law, the courts have put in the following temporary rules that will be used this election.
When you go to vote, you will need a document that verifies who you are. Any of the previous allowable IDs are still good. Additionally, under the new rules, f any of those IDs have been expired for 4 years or less, they are also acceptable. The new rules also allow a valid voter registration certificate, a certified birth certificate, a current utility bill, a bank statement, a government check, a paycheck, or any other government document that displays your name and an address as proof of who you are. When using that method of proof, you must also complete and sign a reasonable impediment declaration. This form will be provided to you if you shall need it at the polling location. Additionally, the reasonableness of your impediment to obtaining the previously required ID shall not be questioned by election officials.
I hope that you will express your right to vote this November, and vote for the candidates who are going to fight to protect your right to vote. Below are a few important dates regarding this year’s general election.
Tuesday, October 11: Deadline to Register to Vote
Monday, October 24: First Day to Early Vote
Friday, October 28: Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail
Friday, November 4: Last Day of Early Voting
Tuesday, November 8: Election Day
Please share this with friends and family so they too can learn how to vote in the upcoming election.
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT NEXT TUESDAY
Next Tuesday, October 4th we will be celebrating National Night Out in Houston. National Night Out is an annual event aimed at strengthening communities by bringing together law enforcement, civic leaders, and residents. This is a great chance to meet peace officers or even your fellow neighbor. Click here for more information about National Night Out as well as the organization that puts it together.
There will be events happening across the city but here are a few that my office has helped with:
Avondale Civic Association
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
808 Pacific Street
Houston, TX 77006
More Info Here
South Park Area Civic Association
6 pm – 8:30 pm
Houston, TX 77033
East Montrose Civic Association
6 pm – 8 pm
2007 Grant at Welch (Behind Texas Art Supply)
Houston, TX 770065
I encourage you to get out meet with your neighbors and have a wonderful night.
The song of the week is “Shout” by The Isley Brothers.