2018 TX Democratic Voter Guide

You  are a voter. Your voice will be heard in November 2018. Democrats are showing up to the polls in record numbers. Recently, we have successfully won elections in places we never dreamed of before. We can win this November. We’ve won some key races by razor thin margins. So, your vote counts now more than ever. Let’s do this.

1. Register to Vote

DEADLINE

HOW TO REGISTER

Texas does NOT have online voter registration. You must register to vote using one of the options below.

Option 1: Mail an Application
  • Fill out the voter registration form online, print it, and mail it. You may fill out the online form here: https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrapp/index.asp
  • Or, you may pick up a voter registration application at a library, post office, your voter registrar’s office, or school (you may want to call first to confirm they have voter registration forms available) and drop it off at the post office to mail it.
  • Or, you may request a postage-paid application from your voter registrar, by filling out this form https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrrequest/index.asp so that a voter registration application can be mailed to you. You must then mail the voter registration application to the voter registrar in your county of residence.
  • You are NOT registered to vote until you MAIL the application
Option 2: Have a Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrar Register You

Many events, marches, and protests have volunteer deputy voter registrars present who can register you.

Option 3: Register to Vote in Person at  County Voter Registrar’s Office

You can register in person at your county Voter Registrar’s office. Find a location here: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/votregduties.shtml

WHY VOTE

VOICE THE NEEDS OF YOUR COMMUNITY

Elected officials know who votes. They hold themselves accountable to those who vote them in and those who will vote them out.  Your community’s voice will not be heard if you don’t vote. If you want laws passed which protect and serve your community, it is important that we all vote.

DECIDE WHO WILL BE CHARGED OF A CRIME

We vote for the district attorneys who decide if a person (such as an abusive official) should be charged with a crime. We also vote for the judges who affect the proceedings in a trial such as what is permitted as evidence, and what sentence is given to a person who is convicted.

ENFORCE FAIR BAIL PRACTICES

The poor are disproportionately locked up in jail  (even in low-risk cases) while waiting for their court date because they cannot afford the bail set by an elected judge. This has significant effects on their livelihood, because it can destabilize their family life and they can lose their jobs while waiting in jail.   https://bailproject.org/why-bail/

HOLD THOSE IN POWER ACCOUNTABLE

Are you tired of those in power getting away with blatant abuse? Do you want to ensure that those in power are held accountable when there is evidence of abuse and corruption? Vote for representatives who will fight to keep the powers of these officials in check.

2. Verify You Are Registered to Vote

  • After you apply, a voter registration certificate (your proof of registration) will typically be mailed to you within 30 days.
  • If you move to a different county you must register to vote again.
  • To verify your registration online, navigate to https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do.  Choose your preferred selection criteria dropdown option. Enter either your Driver’s License number, Voter ID, -or- Name, County, DOB to check your voter registration status.
  • Or, you may call your Voter’s Registrar office to verify you are registered to vote. Find their phone number here:  http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/votregduties.shtml

3. Make a Plan to Vote

VERIFY VOTER ID REQUIREMENTS

Verify you have the required identification for voting in person  http://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/need-id.html.

(OPTIONAL) GET HELP WITH OBTAINING YOUR VOTER ID

Do you need financial or other assistance with getting an ID? The SPREADTHEVOTE organization can help you obtain the required identification needed for you to vote.

GET A REMINDER TO VOTE

Your county should offer early voting, so VOTE EARLY. It’s possible something can come up at the last minute on election day! Also, note that all of the voting days this year are on a weekday. Do you need to request time off at work or school? Many voting locations open early and close in the evening. Check the location’s hours and what day and time will work for you.

  • Check Early Voting or Election Day voting days and hours. Refer to the VOTE->WHEN section of this document.
  • Check Early Voting or Election Day voting location. Refer to the VOTE->WHERE section of this document.

(OPTIONAL) WILL YOU NEED A RIDE TO THE POLLS?

Many cities offer free public transportation on voting day if you present your voter registration card.

Various organizations offer free  or subsidized rides to the polls:

 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.  — Martin Luther King Jr.

4. Learn About and Support Democratic Candidates

WHO WILL BE ON YOUR BALLOT

You can search the full list of candidates here https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/candidate-filing/cf-report.aspx or enter your address and see your personalized ballot at www.vote411.org

 

SUPPORT KEY CANDIDATES

Learn about each democratic candidate’s stance on various issues. Support a Democratic campaign. There are various ways to support a campaign including:

  • Donate money to a campaign. Even a $3 or $5 donation helps. Many democratic candidates rely on contributions from small donors like us.
  • Volunteer to text potential voters (text bank)
  • Volunteer to call potential voters (phone bank)
  • Volunteer to knock on doors (canvass)
  • If you don’t have a specific candidate in mind, donate to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to have them distribute donations to support key candidates:  https://democrats.org/donate.

Beto O’Rourke: U.S. Senate – Candidate

Colin Allred: TX-32 U.S. House of Representatives – Candidate

Lupe Valdez: Governor – Candidate

John Creuzot: Dallas District Attorney – Candidate

5. Vote

WHEN TO VOTE

  • November 2018 Midterm election early voting dates: Monday, October 22, 2018 to Friday, November 2, 2018. Polling place hours vary at each early voting location.
  • November 2018 Midterm election is on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Election Day voting hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at all polling places statewide.
  • https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/2018-important-election-dates.shtml

WHERE TO VOTE

Very often your voting location will be a nearby school or civic center.

During early voting, certain counties allow you to vote in any polling location in your county.

On election day, certain counties only allow you to vote at the voting precinct assigned to you. Your residence is located in a specific “precinct” or area within the county where you will vote on Election Day.

  • You may find your polling location here: https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do. Early voting locations will be populated two days prior to the first day of early voting. Choose your preferred selection criteria dropdown option. Enter either your Driver’s License number, Voter ID, -or- Name, County, DOB.
  • Or, many newspapers publish polling locations.
  • Or, call your voter registrar’s office to ask them to provide  the address of your polling location.

 

HOW TO VOTE

Option 1: In-Person At A Polling Place

What to Bring

Bringing your voter registration card is not typically needed as long as you have the proper id.  Call your voter registrar’s office with any questions.

You may view the full list of acceptable forms of ID here: https://www.txdemocrats.org/my-texas-votes/what-to-bring/. Note if there is an issue with presenting  your ID. You may be able to vote anyway by signing a declaration describing the impediment for having an ID. Call your voter registrar’s office with any questions.

How to Use an Electronic Voting Machine

Option 2: Send a Mail-In Ballot

 

BEWARE OF SCAMS

You may NOT vote online, by text, or via phone. If you see an ad claiming otherwise please report it immediately. You may ONLY vote in person or through mail-in (absentee) ballot. If you  have questions about how to vote,  call or visit your local voter registrar’s office. You may find their contact details here: www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/votregduties.shtml

REPORT ANY ISSUES

If you see any problems, or if you have to vote a provisional ballot, you should report them immediately by calling 1-833-DEM-VOTE (1-833-336-8683).

  • If an election official questions whether you can vote, you are always entitled to cast a provisional ballot, which records your vote while election officials look more closely at your records.
  • If you can’t prepare your ballot because of a physical disability, or because you can’t read it, you have the right to assistance from a person of your choice.
  • If you can’t communicate in English, you have the right to select an interpreter to communicate with election officials and translate the ballot for you.
  • As long as you are in line to vote at 7 p.m. when the polls close on Election Day, you are entitled to cast your ballot, no matter what.

https://www.txdemocrats.org/my-texas-votes/report-a-problem/

6. Learn About the Democratic Party Platform

Instead of using our tax dollars to give tax breaks to the top 1%, the Democratic party aims to have our tax dollars work for ALL OF US. Below is a small subset of key issues on the democratic platform.

  • Support gun reform. Strengthen background checks and close dangerous loopholes in our current laws. Keep weapons of war—such as assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines (LCAM’s)—off our streets.
  • Reform the immigration system and allow for a pathway to citizenship. Allow young people that came over as students to become full citizens. The current quota system discriminates against certain immigrants and needs to be reformed to the realities of the 21st century. We will defend and implement President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action (DACA) executive actions to help DREAMers, parents of citizens, and lawful permanent residents avoid deportation.
  • Mandate equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity. We will fight to secure equal pay for women, which will benefit all women and their families, particularly women of color who are disproportionately impacted by discriminatory pay practices, and against other factors that contribute to the wage gap. And we will combat the discrimination they face on and off the job.
  • Provide low-cost, publicly funded college education with low tuition fees and free community college available to every eligible American student.
  • Support for universal health care. We are proud to be the party that passed Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which has covered 20 million more Americans and ensured millions more will never be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. We will crack down on price gouging by drug companies and cap the amount Americans have to pay out-of-pocket every month on prescription drugs.
  • Increase federal minimum wage. Americans should earn at least $15 an hour.
  • Uphold labor protections and the right to unionize. Workers must always be allowed to bargain collectively for better wages and benefits. We will defend President Obama’s overtime rule, which protects of millions of workers by paying them fairly for their hard work. We support efforts to limit the use of forced arbitration clauses in employment and service contracts, which unfairly strip consumers, workers, students, retirees, and investors of their right to their day in court.
  • Ensure access to public education for all. Address wide disparities in educational outcomes across racial and socioeconomic lines by ensuring there are great schools for every child no matter where they live. We also support increased investments in afterschool and summer learning programs, which help working families, keep kids safe, and inspire learning at a time when many students are left unsupervised.
  • Reform the student loan system. Slash student loan debt and support reforms to force down tuition fees. Simplify and expand access to income-based student-loan repayment so that no student loan borrowers ever have to pay more than they can afford.
  • Uphold voting rights and easy access to voting. Ensure that election officials comply with voting protections, including provisions mandating bilingual materials and voter assistance. Expand early voting and vote-by-mail, implement universal automatic voter registration and same day voter registration, end partisan and racial gerrymandering, and make Election Day a national holiday. We will restore voting rights for those who have served their sentences. We will continue to fight against discriminatory voter identification laws.
  • Take money out of politics. Big money is drowning out the voices of everyday Americans. We will fight to reform our broken campaign finance system, which gives outsized influence to billionaires and big corporations. We need to end secret, unaccountable money in politics by requiring, through executive order or legislation, significantly more disclosure and transparency—by outside groups, federal contractors, and public corporations to their shareholders. We need to overhaul and strengthen the Federal Election Commission so that there is real enforcement of campaign finance laws. And we need to fight to eliminate super PACs and outside spending abuses.
  • Protect social security and safety net programs.
  • Greater investment in infrastructure development. Use our tax dollars to improve infrastructure, instead of allowing for more toll roads at an additional expense to us.

For more, please see Democratic Party Platform https://www.democrats.org/party-platform

7. Learn About Voter Suppression Efforts Which the Democratic Party is Fighting

8. Learn About Less Well Known Key Races

DISTRICT ATTORNEY

District Attorneys have tremendous power to impact the lives of millions of people, their families, and entire communities. They arguably have more control over the fates of the criminally accused than a judge or even a jury. If someone is accused of committing a crime, it is not the police but the DA who has the sole power to decide if criminal charges are filed and the severity of those charges. They alone decide who is deserving of a jail or prison sentence and who will instead be routed into a diversion program to help rebuild their life, or have charges dismissed.

Your DA can push young people into the criminal justice system or give them a second chance to learn from their mistakes.

Your DA can take officer-involved shootings seriously by investigating them and holding police accountable, or they can turn a blind eye to officers who shoot and kill members of our community.

The actions of your DA can trigger deportation proceedings and tear families apart by cracking down on minor offenses like selling fruit on a sidewalk. Or they can use their discretion in a way that keeps families together

 

Meet Your DA https://meetyourda.org/

SHERIFF

  • Serves as a licensed peace officer and is responsible for enforcing the criminal laws of the state.
  • Manages and operates the county jail.
  • Provides security for the courts.
  • Serves warrants and civil papers.
  • Regulates bail bondsmen in counties with no bail bond board.

https://www.county.org/texas-county-government/texas-county-officials/Pages/Sheriff.aspx

JUDGES

Judges preside over state civil and criminal cases. Whether it is a murder trial or a divorce case, judges make hundreds of important decisions each day. Choosing a fair judge is key to enforcing fair sentencing and bail reform.

9. Learn Who Currently Represents You and How They’ve Voted on Key Issues

Find your current representatives here: http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/mobile/fyi/. Find out how your representatives have voted on various bills at www.votesmart.org.

10. Additional Resources

 

Disclaimer: This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own opinions and are not endorsed by any candidate or political party. While every caution has been taken to provide my readers with accurate information and honest analysis, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

 

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