While it is difficult to ignore that it is voting season, it is important to remember that voting takes time and we all need to make a voting plan, particularly this year with COVID-19 changing the voting landscape and limiting the number of polling locations and number of people allowed inside of polling locations. While Election Day is Tuesday November 3, luckily in Texas we have almost two weeks of early voting, giving us all space and time to vote safely and conveniently. Did you know that early voting started in Texas on October 13 and runs through Friday October 30?
When reflecting on the importance of voting this year, it is important to honor our past and vote for the future we want. One hundred years ago, Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Fifty-five years ago, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law prohibiting racial discrimination in the voting process. This year, we at Achieving Together are honoring the struggles of our forebearers and heeding their call to fully participate in our democracy, demanding that our voices and values are heard. We encourage everyone to do the same.
While it is easy to say we’re going to vote, it can often be confusing and time-consuming, not only waiting in line, but figuring out where to vote, determining the best candidates for the job, and getting to the polls. Officials are expecting record turnout this year, so we at Achieving Together are encouraging everyone to make a voting plan and vote early.
Looking for resources to help you make a voting plan?
- Vote411.org by the League of Women Voters can help you determine your voter registration and can create a personalized ballot for you based on your street address. You can make all of your selections and then either write them down or print it out and take it to the polls with you.
- Not sure where to vote? The Texas Secretary of State’s website allows you to login with basic identifying information and shows you polling locations in your area.
- Concerned about wait times? Want to find the shortest lines if you aren’t assigned to a particular location? A number of counties now offer interactive maps that indicate which polling locations have the shortest wait times, including:
- Elsewhere? A quick google search of your county and “voting wait times” might produce a map for your county if available.
- Concerned about transportation to the polls? Many major cities in Texas are offering free rides to the polls through local public transit systems, including Houston, Austin, Dallas, Ft Worth, San Antonio, and more. Rideshare services are also offering free rides to the polls this year as well, including Uber and Lyft.
- Concerned about taking time off of work to vote? Did you know that Texas law allows employees to take a “reasonable” amount of paid time off to vote? While “reasonable” is not defined, it is intended to not punish employees who cannot vote outside of working hours. Learn more here: https://www.texasemployerhandbook.com/2015/10/voting-rights/
- Other questions? Votetexas.gov addresses a wide array of issues related to voting in Texas.
Now that you’ve got your voting plan in place, what are you waiting for? Put on a mask, grab a photo ID, and tag us with your “I Voted/Yo Voté” selfies on social media so we can inspire each other to vote our values!
If you know of additional voting resources from your area, put them in the comments or send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can add them to this post.