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Date: 2/8/2022
Subject: Texas Voting Restrictions Make National News!
From: Grace Chimene



Action News!
February 2022
President's Message: Take Action For Free Speech!
Grace Chimene
 

Hello ~~first_name~~!

 

Freedom of speech is in the very First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, yet the Texas legislature does not value our right to free speech.  New Texas laws prevent educators from teaching students about the lived history of Black and Hispanic Texans, limit health care providers’ medical advise to patients regarding abortion, and limit the freedom of speech of our county election administrators from educating voters on voting by mail. 

 

The hardest hit by these new voting laws are, of course, the most vulnerable and marginalized - low income voters, disabled voters, elderly voters, as well as Hispanic and African American voters. 

 

The Texas primaries are fast approaching and eligible vote by mail voters are scrambling to understand how to vote by mail. In Harris County, one third of the vote by mail applications were rejected! (Read my OpEd in the Houston Chronicle Memory loss? No, it’s the new vote by mail voter ID requirement!")

 

I need you to use your freedom of speech to help to empower voters in Texas! 

 

You can help the League fight for voting rights by sharing your voting stories. Send me your story of voting challenges at gchimene@lwvtexas.orgThen share your frustration with your elected officials, and your community by using the media tab in the League's Take Action Center to send a letter to the editor of your local news.

 
Other ways to help Texas voters:
  • Become a  poll worker! Contact your county election office to learn how.
  • Train to be an Election Protection Volunteer. Volunteers who live in East Texas, sign up for training with NAACP LDF hereVolunteers from across Texas can find training with Common Cause here
As the March 1, Texas Primary approaches, please continue to share League resources on voting in Texas. You can help ensure that every voice is heard. 
 
Thank you for supporting the League. We are empowering voters and defending democracy together!
Your Texas League in Action!
March 1 Texas Primary Voters Guide and VOTE411.org Available Now
 
The 2022 Primary Election includes a large number of races across Texas for the Republican and Democratic parties.  The League's Voters Guide and the online interactive version of the Guide, VOTE411.org, are ready to educate voters about all the many races and candidates. Our Guide is highly trusted because the League poses unbiased questions to all candidates on the ballot about issues critical to Texans, and shares their responses in the Voters Guide in their own words. The League is nonpartisan, never supporting or opposing political parties or political candidates.

League of Women Voters of Texas New SB1 Lawsuit
 
The League of Women Voters of Texas in conjunction with the Texas Civil Rights Project and other community organizations have filed a lawsuit to challenge key provisions of the SB 1 legislation. There are many lawsuits challenging this legislation. The League's lawsuit focuses on:
  • the problems associated with the additional voter ID requirements particularly for vote by mail voters,
  • the new provisions related to the oath required by those assisting voters, and
  • the voter harvesting provisions that are overly broad
More details will follow as this lawsuit moves forward. 

March 1st Texas Primary Election Information! 
 
Almost 700 Texans participated in the January 18, 2022 Webinar - New Texas Voting Laws - What You Need to Know! - hosted by the League of Women Voters with Texas Impact, and Texas LULAC.
 
New election laws mean new procedures for completing your ballot by mail. Watch this video to learn more about the required Voter ID numbers and the new oath for assisting a voter: Complete Your Ballot By Mail Texas Style! Find League resources on voting by mail here.   
 
Here are additional election resources to share widely! 
Local Leagues in Action!

LWV Houston - A Win For Texas' New Citizens! 

 

LWV Houston has been in the news! There as been lots of media coverage of Harris County's high rate of rejection of vote by mail applications, most notably during the ABC News program, This Week with George StephanopoulosCorrespondent, and fill-in host, Martha Raddatz, spoke with Isabel Longoria, Harris County Elections Administrator, LWV Houston president Annie Benefield, and a voter whose application was rejected were a featured story at the top of the broadcast.


In addition to local coverage of the voter registration card "supply chain" issues in the Texas Secretary of State's office, it also caught the attention of Stephen Colbert, host of "The Late Show" on CBS!
 

LWV Houston working with LWV-Texas, resolved the voter registration application supply chain issue with the Secretary of State's office, but only after demanding Secretary Scott comply with federal law. The Texas Secretary of State's office shipped LWV Houston 10,000 voter registration forms; two volunteers on the Naturalization Committee each received 1,000 additional forms along with the committee chair who received 8,000 printed forms. These arrived via FedEx (with Saturday delivery, no less) on January 22, 2022. 

 

LWV Houston ordered an additional 10,000 blank voter registration forms printed. These forms are earmarked for their ongoing voter registration drives following naturalization ceremonies. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to naturalize approximately 3,500 people per month in the greater Houston metropolitan area. LWV Houston supplies each new citizen with voter registration forms and a congratulatory note with voting information.

LWV Houston on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
LWV Houston on ABC News Jan 2022
LWV Houston President Annie Benefield being interviewed by ABC News.
 
LWV San Antonio Webinar: Informed Voters - Fair Judges 
Feb. 17 at 6:00 - 7:15 PM
 

League of Women Voters of San Antonio, National Association of Women Judges and the American College of Trial Lawyers  present a timely and informative, interactive webinar on the impact of the judiciary in government. The presenters will be Judge Norma Gonzales, 131st District Court, and Jane Bockus, a trial lawyer and educator. 

 

This webinar will address:

  • The US Constitution’s role in establishing our judiciary

  • The responsibilities distinguishing the judicial branch of government

  • The importance and challenges of ensuring a fair and impartial judiciary 

  • How you can learn about and evaluate judges on the ballot

Click HERE to Register.

Your Texas League in the News!
Voting and elections and the League have been in the news! LWVTX President Grace Chimene was interviewed by local, state and national news media this last month. Check out your Texas League's In the News webpage for a complete list. Of particular interest are: 
 
Podcast: Civil Rights & Wrongs on KOOP 91.7 Community Radio in Austin. 
Article: Texas leans on new voting law to reject thousands of ballot applications - The Guardian, Feb. 2, 2022
FYI
Moderating Deliberative Discussions
Thursday, February 17, 2022  2:00 pm – 3:30 pm ET

 
This free workshop will serve as an introduction for new moderators and as a refresher and deeper dive for those who are experienced. We’ll share insights gathered from practitioners throughout the National Issues Forums network while we learn from each other in a highly-interactive workshop setting. Participants will receive a wide range of resources to support their own moderator development, which can be adapted for use in locally-organize online or in-person moderator workshops. The National Issues Forums Institute's mission is to promote the use of public deliberation in at the community level. The purpose of deliberative forums is to inform collective action. Acting together is essential for addressing problems that can't be solved by one group of people or one institution.
 
Register here

Texas Civil Rights Project Voter Registration at Texas Public Libraries
2022 Investigation & Compliance Report
 
Beginning in the spring of 2020, Texas Civil Rights Project’s investigation into voter registration practices at public libraries revealed that not a single public library in the State was fully compliant with its obligations under the Texas Election Code and the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
 
The Texas Civil Rights Project conservatively estimates that the libraries now in full compliance with their obligations under the NVRA will collectively register at least 75,000 voters for the first time or at a new address every year, representing more than 300,000 registrations from the start of this investigation through the 2024 presidential election. Nevertheless, about 25% of all public libraries in the State remain out of compliance with their voter registration obligations, have ignored recent Secretary of State (SOS) guidance to libraries prompted by this investigation, and have not responded to multiple attempts from TCRP to offer assistance with the compliance process.
 
See full report here
See library training video featuring LWV Houston and LWV Hays County leaders here.

League of Women Voters of Texas
1212 Guadalupe St. #107
Austin Texas, 78701
(512)-472-1100