A note -

The path to our voteā€¦


Early this week when our grassroots project, Our Vote Texas, launched resources for volunteers doing voter outreach work in our state, we were immediately reminded about a few things.

We were reminded just how not alone we are in the assessment that it is hard to navigate voter information out there if what you are looking to do is register voters and talk to your fellow Texans about their rights at the polls. It gets even harder if you are just a person trying to find out information so you can go vote!

We heard from volunteers in Montgomery County and Harris County. We heard from people in Tarrant County and from volunteers who work in all its surrounding rural counties. We heard from people down in Cameron County, Galveston County and right near us in Williamson County. We heard from entire teams of volunteers that have organized themselves together and from individuals just trying to do this important work. This whole response reminded us of something else....

In the past the state's voter education campaign has been just plain inadequate for the size of Texas. We have long known this. And the resources get even more varied as you go county to county. I would know - I am a certified volunteer deputy registrar (VDR) across 3 of them (soon to be 4 counties!). I have sat through my share of trainings. Some counties have a well oiled machine for supporting their volunteers. Some simply do not have the resources and they are doing the best with what they've got.

It is not enough.

It is not enough to have folks fill out a piece of paper to register and then send them on their way to navigate the sometimes choppy waters of trying to vote in this state. It is not enough when we can help demystify the voting process for each other. When we can take the time to go over voter ID specifics. When we can make ourselves available to field questions. When we can talk about the rights that so many of us do not even know we have when it comes to voting and what we can do when those rights are not honored at the polls!

We can give each other the information we need to begin those conversations.

In my time working with voters, from folks at street festivals, to neighborhoods, to eligible men and women experiencing incarceration, I have learned that you are never just signing someone up to vote. Most of the time you are hearing a story. You are listening to their concerns, their questions, the unique obstacles they face. It is rarely just about voting at all.
When given the tools to share, it is our hope that the state's VDRs can provide folks with the information and resources to overcome some of those challenges. In some cases, not just to vote but to thrive.

Ideally, ours would be a state that makes every critical effort to engage citizens on the voting process. To take what is "made public" and truly publicize and clarify it for everyone. But we are not there yet. So until that day, this is going to be about what you and I can do together.

Your path to the vote is my path to the vote. Where our path is blocked, we are called to help clear it. All.

And in the interest of keeping that mission going, we hope you will join us in supporting this voter education effort for our vote.

Please Donate Today!

Yours in the fight,
Valerie Street


Texas Progressive Action Network