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Date: 4/4/2022
Subject: LWVTX Action News! April 2022
From: Grace Chimene



April 2022 Action News!

President's Message:


Take action now to empower voters with the information they need to vote in person or by mail in the upcoming May elections. I know you are as impatient as I am for a solution for our voting dilemmas whether through litigation or and update to the voting rights act by Congress. 

The new election law caused heart-breaking confusion among voters in the 2022 primary elections. Most notably, the new ID number requirements that needed to be added in Ballot by Mail applications and ballot carrier envelopes complicated voting. These new requirements hit older voters and voters with disabilities particularly hard.

In Harris County, older Black voters were especially impacted by this anti-voter legislation.  This law is a throwback to the poll taxes of the Jim Crow era. Texas is one of many states that is going backward in ensuring the right to vote. 

The federal Voting Rights Act must be restored to ensure that every voter in Texas— regardless of where they live, what they look like, how old they are, if they have disabilities, or what language they speak—has equal access to the ballot box and is protected from unfair laws and practices that make it harder for people to vote.


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Grace Chimene
President, League of Women Voters of Texas

Your Texas League in Action
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Voter's Stories - Texas Primary Election 2022

Texas has a new voting law because of the passage of Senate Bill 1, and the League of Women Voters of Texas has been gathering stories from Texas voters about their experience voting in the 2022 Texas Primary Election to see how this new law affected them. We then compiled a list of slides with exact quotes from actual Texas voters about their experience. You can view the slideshow video with voiceover here. To view the static slides, click here.

It's a tragedy for our democracy when state leaders choose to support a partisan agenda instead of voters when writing state election law resulting in a massive rejection of vote-by-mail ballots. After a survey of 187 of the state’s 254 counties, the Associated Press reported that 22,898 mail ballots — 13% of the total — were rejected this year. The federal Voting Rights Act must be restored to ensure that every voter in Texas has equal access to the ballot box and is protected from unfair laws and practices that make it harder for people to vote.

“For democracy to work, it must include all voices. SB 1 is an extremist anti-voter bill that raises even more barriers to voting and specifically targets vulnerable communities, especially voters with disabilities, voters of color, and elderly voters,” said Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters of Texas. “SB 1 is a violation of our freedom to vote, and we will continue to fight every attempt to silence Texas voters.”

Read more here.

may 2022 runoff election dates

The Voters Guide for the May 7th Election is Available…and Another On Its Way


The Voters Guide covering the Texas Constitutional Amendment Election on May 7th, 2022 is now available on VOTE411.org and at lwvtx.org. There are two proposed Texas constitutional amendments on the ballot. We also made videos with explanations of the propositions and arguments for and against to help voters make informed decisions. 

View our May 7th Constitutional Amendment explanation videos here:

Shortly after the May 7th election, the Voters Guide for the May 24th Primary Runoff Election will be available on VOTE411.org and at lwvtexas.org, so be on the lookout!

We will not provide printed versions of the Guides for the May elections. 

LWV Texas has designed graphics and flyers with important election dates and the web address and QR code for VOTE411.org. These will be sent to the Leagues, libraries, and partner organizations to print/reproduce to meet their needs.  

Here are additional LWV Texas voting resources:

 Women Power the Vote ~ A Making Democracy Work Dinner
 
We've been hard at work getting ready for the Women Power the Vote ~ A Making Democracy Work® Dinner, which will take place on Friday, April 8th, 2022 from 7:00-9:00 P.M. at the Radisson Hotel Austin North, located at 6121 N IH 35 in Austin, Texas. Doors open at 6:00 P.M.
 
The Keynote Speaker will be Isabel Longoria, Harris County Elections Administrator. Other honorees include Heider Garcia (Tarrant County), Michael Scarpello (Dallas County), and Bruce Sherbet (Collin County), election officials in counties where 2020 General Election audits are being conducted. Please join us in celebrating the hard work of election officials across the state by all those who support empowering voters and defending democracy in Texas!

For information about tickets and sponsorships, click here.
 
Take Action Today!

Share your voting story!


The League of Women Voters of Texas is still gathering stories from Texas voters about voting in the March 1st Texas Primary Election. How was your voting experience in 2022? How about your friends and family? Fill out the 2022 Texas Primary Election Voter Stories survey to let us know.

Your story will help the League learn about how new voting procedures impacted Texas voters and any challenges you experienced. We will use this information to improve voter education and to advocate at the Capitol to make improvements to voting in Texas. You can read about some of the stories we've already collected here

Then use the League's Take Action! page to write your voting story to your legislators or use the media link to write a letter to the editor.

Local Leagues in Action

LWV Houston
LWV Houston

Photo credit: League of Women Voters of Houston Facebook page. Annie Johnson-Benifield, President of the Houston chapter of the League of Women Voters, shared the inspiring story on how she became a voting rights advocate in an interview with KHOU-11. Read more here.
Dr Rachel Gunter
LWVTarrant County

Photo credit: League of Women Voters - Tarrant County Facebook page. To celebrate Women's History Month, Dr. Rachel Michelle Gunther spoke at the LWV Tarrant County event “From the Texas Equal Suffrage Association to the League of Women Voters of Texas" about the struggle for suffrage in Texas.

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LWV Tyler/Smith

Photo credit: LWVTyler YouTube channel. Tyler ISD Board Vice-President Aaron Martinez joined LWV Tyler/Smith County for an episode of "Coffee With." View the full video here.
LWV Corpus- March March
LWV Corpus Christi

Photo credit: Corpus Christi League of Women Voters Facebook page. LWV Corpus Christi joined the "March March for the Vote" to remember, honor and celebrate those bold, courageous and powerful people who gathered in our nation's capital for the National Women's Suffrage Parade of 1913. Read more here.
 
Your Texas League in the News!

Nearly 1 in 5 mail-in ballots in Houston area were rejected because of Texas voting law, election officials say


(CNN) — Thousands of mail-in ballots were rejected in Texas' most populous county for the March primary because they did not meet requirements set by the state's new voting law passed last year by the Republican-led state legislature, according to Houston-area election officials.

Harris County election officials on Friday announced that of the 36,878 mail ballots received for the March 1 primary, a total of 6,888, or 19%, were rejected "as a direct result of Senate Bill 1."

Under the law, voters had to include a Texas identification number or a partial Social Security number when returning their mail-in ballots. However, the identification number used must match one of the numbers on the voter's registration record. Officials noted that the mail ballots were flagged for rejection "specifically due to ID issues."

Read more here.

In Texas, thousands of mail ballots were rejected following new ID requirements

Thousands of Texas voters had their mail ballots rejected in this month's primary, after the state's controversial new voting law created additional ID requirements.

Local election officials say the new identification requirements as a result of the Republican-backed law tripped up many eligible voters in the March 1 primary.

An Associated Press analysis released Wednesday afternoon found that a total of nearly 23,000 mail ballots were rejected across the majority of Texas' counties.
 
Read more here.

Voter turnout takes a dip in Comal, Guadalupe

Voter turnout for the March 1 party primaries declined from percentages Comal and Guadalupe counties posted in 2020 and 2018, though it’s too soon to tell how much the state’s tougher elections laws factored into the local equation.

Unofficially, Comal turnout was at 23.23%, or 28,909 ballots counted from 124,414 registered voters. It was just under the 23.57% turnout in 2018 but well behind the record primary turnout of 29.80% in 2020. Official Guadalupe numbers indicated a turnout of 18.53%, or 21,362 ballots counted from 115,293 registered.

Statewide, more than 27,000 absentee ballots were flagged for rejection, jeopardizing votes cast by Democrats and Republicans alike and in counties big and small, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. It puts the rate of rejected mail ballots in Texas on track to significantly surpass previous elections.

Read more here.

Texas voting bill stands, for now, court rules

A federal appeals court has declined to strike down the Texas voting bill known as Senate Bill 1. In a split decision, the three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiffs in all three suits named Texas Secretary of State John Scott as the sole defendant, and that Scott has no enforcement abilities over the areas covered by the suits.

The suits, which had plaintiffs including the Texas State Conference of the NAACP, the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans and the League of Women Voters.

Read more here.

FYI...
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LWV Texas Biennial Convention 2022


The League of Women Voters of Texas is hosting our biennial convention on April 8th-10th in Austin, Texas. There will be workshops on Friday and Sunday, and there will be a plenary on Saturday. We're so excited to be able to meet in person this year! There will be a Convention Preview on Tuesday, April 5th, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. over Zoom with a Q&A about what to expect at this year's convention. To register for the Convention Preview Zoom call, click here. For more information about the convention, click here.

Register for Convention!


League of Women Voters of Texas

1212 Guadalupe St. #107
Austin Texas, 78701
(512) 472-1100
lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org
lwvtexas.org