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I talked to a guy yesterday who voted for Beto on the first day of early voting. He’s voted straight ticket democrat in Texas for 40 years, and he said “it just drives me crazy when people don’t vote. That’s how we got in this mess.”
And I told him sure, but after a few weeks in mostly low-income neighborhoods around Dallas, I’ll never complain about people not voting again. Because that assumes people don’t vote out of laziness. Or apathy.
And that could not be more innacurate.
People don’t vote in America, because we’ve allowed America to become a country without a voting culture. Voting is not for everyone. Voting is not who we are.
Voter suppression is often incremental, but the results are immediate, and passed down to future generations.
If your parents don’t vote, how do you learn to vote? I don’t think many of us fully appreciate the privilege that voting has become.
I talked to a woman in her thirties who cried when I told her she was registered to vote. She’d wanted to , but then she realized her drivers license expired in June.
In Texas, your license can be expired up to four years and still be valid for voting.
She had no idea.
I talked to a guy who said “hypothetically, if a person had a warrant for running a stop sign and not paying the ticket because it was too expensive, could that person still vote.” And I said “hypothetically, they shouldn’t arrest you.” He won’t risk it; he cares for his sisters.
I have six different people to call tomorrow who have prior felonies, and are terrified to vote. A Fort Worth woman was sentenced to five years in jail for voting in 2016 while on probation.
She had no idea she was ineligible.
I spent almost 20 minutes trying to make a vote plan with a woman the other day. She moved to Dallas from a different county last year, and updated her drivers license.
It didn’t update her voter registration.
You have to vote in the county you’re registered in on Election Day.
Not only is that county a four-hour drive, her ID lists an address outside the county.
Out of county voting is only allowed during early voting.
Early voting ended Friday.
I still have to figure out if one woman can vote with a utility bill that doesn’t have the same address as her voter registration as long as the current address is in the same county.
I don’t want to send an elderly woman across town to fill out three forms unless I’m sure.
When I help someone make a plan, I talk to them about the voter protection hotline, because I watched an election judge try to tell ten people they couldn’t vote after an hour and a half of waiting because they hadn’t made it inside the building.
That’s not remotely accurate.
When someone asks you to make a voting plan for Tuesday and you roll your eyes and think it’s silly, please remember some of these voting plans took days to figure out. And I’m sending some people to the polls to stand in line for hours with no idea if they’ll be allowed to vote.
And if the people of Texas can spend days digging up paperwork and coming up with backup voting plans while promising to stand in that line no matter what the election officials try to tell them...you can take two minutes to make your plan this year too.
I am exhausted by the obstacles to voting in Texas, and overcoming them is essentially my job right now.
How can we expect anyone to navigate this while raising children, and working two jobs, and trying to stay healthy.
In the last midterms, 6% of registered voters cast ballots in Fort Worth.
Acting like this is some sort of enthusiasm gap, instead of a complete failure of our nation to educate and enfranchise our citizens, is absolute garbage.
People don’t vote because we don’t let them vote.
That being said, please know that every day there are literally thousands of volunteers here in Texas trying to fix it.
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