The 202 presidential election marked a milestone in voter numbers in the U.S., but a Texas non-profit says turnout could have been better in the Lone Star State.
Common Cause Texas, which bills itself as a nonpartisan working to “put power back in the hands of the people,” issued a report on Feb. 2 citing problems encountered at the polls. It also lauded the efforts of individual volunteers who assisted voters above and beyond the call of duty, and makes recommendations on how to make voting better in the future.
The group says Texas is particularly difficult when it comes to voting, and voiced concern over recent language used by the governor which they believe foreshadows further tightening of voting restrictions.
“Once again, Texas ranked close to last in turnout nationally not because Texans are more apathetic than other Americans but because Texas makes it harder to register and vote than any other state,” said Common Cause Executive Director Anthony Gutierrez. “As we release this report highlighting how hard it is to vote in Texas, Governor Abbott made clear he intends to make it ever harder. Our Election Protection work is vitally important precisely because we live in a state that goes out of its way to erect systemic obstacles between Texans and the ballot box.
“This past November, it was thrilling to see the same energy and excitement that produced high turnout also result in us having a record-breaking number of volunteers. Though it is important to remember high turnout does not mean the election was without problems. Looking forward, we intend to expand our program into more parts of the state and work harder to have volunteers at the polls for all elections, not just the major ones.
NDG 1/14: Disavowing Black and Brown Votes: Just say ‘no more, not ever again’ and push back at corporations that support rogue Republican politicians
“Judging by Governor Abbott declaring ‘election integrity’ an emergency item, we anticipate having to fight a number of voter suppression bills in the legislature and we stand ready to fight to protect the voting rights of every Texan.”
Common Cause volunteers handled a wide array of voter issues on election day, including one volunteer securing an emergency ballot for a patient in emergency care battling the coronavirus.
Common Cause Texas is advocating for more grassroots participation in future elections. It also says elections should be declared federal holidays.
Another issue needing to be addressed according to the report is the proliferation of disinformation online.
“Election protection volunteers are obvious advocates for pro-voting reforms at every level of government,” the report reads. “We are committed to empowering our volunteers to be engaged grassroots leaders of a pro-democracy movement in their community.”
More information can be found at lettexasvote.org.