This week marks the beginning of early voting for the 2020 primary runoff elections in Texas.
Unfortunately, as cases spike across the state and the COVID-19 metrics skyrocket into dangerous territory, Texans will not have the opportunity to vote by mail-in ballot. Instead, voters will have to choose to put themselves at risk in order to have their voices heard. Stonewalling the expansion of voting by mail is nothing short of another Republican attempt at voter suppression.
This is simply the latest example of Gov. Abbott’s pattern of sacrificing public safety for empty, political gains. It is also another example of Republican leaders encouraging Texas to fall behind. Other states with strict voting regulations similar to Texas’ recently loosened restrictions around who is allowed to vote by mail.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was quoted as saying: “No Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote.”
So why is Gov. Abbott forcing Texans to make that choice? Especially when we know that voting by mail is secure, easy and convenient?
Next Session, Texas House Democrats will fight to make voting more accessible, because we know nothing is as sacred in politics as the right to have your voice heard. We will continue to fight discriminatory policies that wear the disguise of security, but in reality suppress the voices of the communities we represent.
But for this election, please wear your mask, practice social distancing, and go make your voice heard at the ballot box.
Photo courtesy of unsplash.com.
Last night, voters across Texas showed up to cast their votes for the 2020 primary elections. Unfortunately voters at Texas Southern University were met with excessive wait times that kept residents there until 1:30 am. Thankfully, countless Harris County residents still persevered through six hour lines to vote, but we need to address why this happened and come to a solution that keeps polling places moving and voters voting.
Harris County holds separate elections for Democratic and Republican primaries, which means voters are only allowed to use machines reserved for their own party, despite others potentially being open. This, combined with a number of voting machines failing due to 20-year old technology and an unexpectedly large Democratic turnout, contributed to the excessive wait times residents endured last night.
County officials and polling locations must all work together to address these flaws so that everyone has a reasonable opportunity to vote. Standing in line at a polling location for over six hours is next to impossible for most residents and no one should be asked to do so to exercise a critical right.
Hervis Rogers, the last voter at Texas Southern University’s polling location, had the following to say as he left…
“I wanted to get my vote in, voice my opinion… I wasn’t going to let anything stop me, so I waited it out.”
Democracy lives and breathes with active participation in elections. It is imperative we do everything in our power to ensure all voices are represented and residents are given a fair chance to vote.
Photo courtesy of Houston Public Media.