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Date: 5/2/2022
Subject: LWVTX Action News! May 2022
From: Grace Chimene



May 2022 Action News!

President's Message:

Already Voted? Go to the head of the class! 

There are two elections in this month - It’s time to make your plan to vote and help your friends and family make their plan to vote.

  1. May 7th - Local and Constitutional Amendments Election. Your family and community is impacted by who votes in the local elections for school boards and bonds, city councils, city bonds, and propositions etc.

  2. May 24th - Primary Runoff Election. This election determines who runs for your party in the General Election and ultimately who runs your state and local government.
Make sure your voice is heard! Visit VOTE411.org for the online nonpartisan Voters Guide. Visit LWVTexas.org for Constitutional Amendment videos, a PDF of the Voters Guide, and voter information.

What I learned last week about the May 7th local elections.
  1. Approximately 73% of all school districts have elections for school board members and/or bond programs in May. (Source: Texas Association of School Boards)

  2. Not all local elections are run by the county, some are run by school districts or municipalities etc. Check with your school district and city to see if they are having a separate election.
I heard from a dedicated Texas voter who voted early at THREE different polling sites in their county! To add to the confusion, Vote by Mail voters may have three different ballots to vote on. Each ballot needs to go into the correct envelope for that election, and will need their ID shared under the flap, as well as the voter’s signature on the outside of the envelope.

Watch the Complete Your Ballot video for step-by-step instructions!

Give a big shout out to four brave League members!

146 wonderful voters responded to the League’s Voting Story survey. The ACLU and TCRP lawyers, representing the League of Women Voters, found four incredibly brave League members who agreed to share their vote by mail rejection stories in support of our litigation against SB1. 

Hey! What about me!

I survived 8 hours of questioning last week during deposition in our lawsuit against SB1. I’m thankful to our voting rights lawyers and support from the LWVUS legal team. We are hoping for a trial by July. Thank you all so much for supporting our continued fight in support of democracy in Texas!
grace signature
Grace Chimene
President, League of Women Voters of Texas

Your Texas League in Action
LWVTX Convention 2022

We're grateful that so many members from across the state were able to attend our Biennial Convention last month! Nineteen local Leagues and four Leagues-at-large attended the convention, and there was a total of 125 voting delegates in attendance, as well as a number of nonmembers and volunteers. 

Convention activities included 20 different workshops on Friday and Sunday, the Plenary on Saturday along with a luncheon and presentation by LWVUS Director Liz Bander, and the Women Power the Vote ~ A Making Democracy Work Dinner honoring election administrators on Friday night.

To view photos from the Convention and the Making Democracy Work Dinner, click here. (You must have a member log-in to view the photos on our website; however, we will be posting photo albums on our Facebook page later this week.)

We learned a lot, accomplished a lot, and made a lot of new friends! Together, we are stronger!

Read more highlights here.


VOTE411.org
- May 7th Voters Guide is Up, May 24th Coming Soon


The Voters Guide covering the Texas Constitutional Amendment Election on May 7th, 2022 is now available on VOTE411.org and at LWVTexas.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:

American Bar Association Meeting

Grace Chimene, LWV Texas President, and Julie Espinoza, LWV Texas Director, shared the impact of SB1 on voters and the importance of standing up for democracy and opposing voter suppression at an American Bar Association voting rights event in Dallas.



Celina Stewart, LWVUS Chief Counsel, Senior Director of Advocacy and Litigation, presented at the American Bar Association meeting in Dallas, Texas via Zoom.


Convention - new board 2022-2024_2
LWVTX Board of Directors, 2022-2024

At the LWVTX 2022 Biennial Convention, a new Board of Directors was elected:
  • President - Joyce LeBombard, LWV Austin Area
  • Secretary - Janis Richardson, LWV South Central Texas
  • Treasurer - Elaine Wiant, LWV Dallas
  • Vice-President - Elisabeth MacNamara, LWV Collin County
  • Vice-President - Dorothy Marchand, LWV Austin Area
  • Vice-President - Charlotte McKenzie, LWV Collin County
  • Vice-President - Deb Treece, LWVTX
  • Director - Julie Espinoza, LWV Collin County
  • Director - Pamiel Johnson Gaskin, LWV Houston
  • Director - Diane Gil, LWV Tarrant County
  • Director - MaryJane Mudd, LWV Houston
  • Director - Stephanie Swanson, LWV Austin Area
  • Director - Linda Vaughn, LWV Amarillo
Nominating Committee: Grace Chimene, Chair (LWV Austin Area), Dr. Annie Johnson Benifield (LWV Houston), and Meg Scott-Johnson (Hill Country Texas)

We're honored to have such a fantastic group of women serving LWVTX, and we wish them luck and success in the upcoming years!

Take Action Today!

Election Protection Volunteers Needed for the May Elections!

No qualified Texan should be deprived of their right to vote due to confusion, suppression, or intimidation. The League is a member of the Election Protection coalition in Texas, which is seeking volunteer poll monitors to be on the ground at polling places throughout Texas to document and report any problems at the polls. You will be part of the team ensuring that no one is deprived of their right to make their voice heard in the May elections.

The Election Protection coalition will be focusing on the first and last days of early voting and on Election Day for the May 24th elections. We encourage you to sign up as a poll monitor! Training dates and times can be found here.

Local Leagues in Action

TWVTXCC Alex Armon-2
LWV Corpus Christi

Photo credit: Debbie Noble. In honor of Earth Day, the Corpus Christi League of Women Voters listened to a great climate change presentation from Armon Alex, fresh from his Our Oceans conference in Palau. They met aboard the lovely Bay Star at the Bay Yacht Club. Read more here.
LWV Tarrant commissioners court-2
LWV Tarrant County
 
Photo credit: League of Women Voters - Tarrant County Twitter account. Tarrant County League President, Peggy Hendon speaks at the Commissioners Court public meeting about Tarrant County election procedures. Read more here.


LWV Williamson County

Photo credit: League of Women Voters Williamson County Facebook page. Members of the League of Women Voters Williamson County participated in the Red Poppy Parade on April 23rd in Georgetown, Texas. Read more here.
 
LWV Austin Dinner
LWV Austin Area
 
Photo credit: Facebook page of Rep. Gina Hinojosa. Rep. Donna Howard, Rep. Vikki Goodwin, Rep. Gina Hinojosa, and Rep. Celia Isreal attended the League of Women Voters Austin Area's Defending Democracy Dinner on April 6th. Read more here.

Your Texas League in the News!

Nearly 25,000 Texas mail-in ballots rejected due to new voting law

Ali Linan, Palestine Herald-Press Statehouse Reporter | Published on 4/7/2022

AUSTIN — Nearly 25,000 ballots were rejected across the state for noncompliance with new Texas voting law, the Texas Secretary of State Office announced Wednesday.

During the last legislative session, GOP-lead efforts to reduce the occurrence of already rare fraudulent voting resulted in the rejection of 24,636 voters' ballots submitted by mail, data shows.

According to state data provided by counties, those ballots include 14,281 Democratic ballots and 10,355 Republican ballots. This is a rejection rate of about 12.4%, up from 1% in 2020.

“Not surprisingly, Texas and AG Paxton are trying to weaken federal voting protections even further,” said state Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, in a tweet. “What’s happening in Texas proves we still need the Voting Rights Act.”

The new law requires Texans voting by mail to include their Texas ID number or Social Security number on their mail-in ballot applications and ballot carrier envelope. Should that number not also match with the ID listed in the voter registration database, the ballot is rejected.

The rejected ballots from the March primaries proved to be one of the first real-world results the new law could have on the state’s elections.

Read more here.

Tarrant County Voting Excellence
Margaret K. Hendon, President Tarrant County LWV Ft Worth | Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Published on 4/17/2022

Congratulations to Heider Garcia for his recognition by the League of Women Voters Texas as an outstanding elections administrator. Garcia was honored at the league’s state convention April 8 in Austin. Also honored were Michael Scarpello of Dallas County, Bruce Sherbet of Collin County and Isabel Longoria of Harris County.

Garcia and the Tarrant County elections office have also received an outstanding ranking for elections office website. The Texas league reviews the websites of all 254 Texas counties and ranks them according to specific criteria. Outstanding is the highest ranking that can be given, and Tarrant County has received this ranking for the past several years.
 
Read more here.

Be a Defender of Democracy!
Support Our Work!

Can we count on you to support democracy in action during these challenging times? Your support is vital as we address the challenges to voting and democracy in Texas.

There are many ways to support the League of Women Voters of Texas - recurring donations, one-time donations, legacy donations, and Voter Guide sponsorships all help support our mission of empowering voters and defending democracy. One of our most popular options is to be a Defender of Democracy. Defenders of Democracy make a monthly gift of $100 or more or an annual gift of at least $1,000 and receive VIP invitations along with LWV swag.

The League of Women Voters of Texas is a grassroots 501c3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. With your tax-deductible donation, you're helping our volunteers at the state level to accomplish important work spreading voter awareness and education, defending democracy at the legislative level, and growing local Leagues in Texas. Thank you for your continued support!

Make a Donation!


League of Women Voters of Texas

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