Before the first ballot was cast in November, TYLA directors and officers broke from their office calendars and court dockets to make Vote America! presentations to high school seniors across Texas.
Vote America! attempts to inspire civic engagement among high school students. In South Texas, the City of McAllen, McAllen Independent School District, and Hidalgo County Young Lawyers Association participated in the area’s first “Vote America! Rally Week” by making presentations to over 1,400 McAllen high school seniors.
During the McAllen presentations, Ernest Aliseda, University of Texas System regent and an attorney at Dykema Cox Smith in McAllen, Judges Randy Crane and Micaela Alvarez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and State Bar Board chair Joe Escobedo, of Escobedo & Cardenas in McAllen, visited with students and explained the importance of participating in the electoral process. In addition, students viewed a short video that described the heroic efforts related to the civil rights era, passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the different suffrage movements of disenfranchised communities. Finally, at the end of each presentation, local deputy registrars processed voter registration applications for eligible students.
The McAllen Vote America! rollout resulted in 200 new registered voters. However, the response and turnout was bigger than McAllen. TYLA made similar presentations in Beaumont, Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi, Waco, Galveston, College Station, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio.
Along with other organizations across Texas, TYLA helped set record-breaking voter registration numbers. The Texas Secretary of State’s Office reported that 15.1 million people registered to vote in the November election. To all those who volunteered and supported these presentations, thank you! Your continued support of TYLA sustains the organization’s reputation as a leader among national bar affiliates.
Victor Flores is an assistant city attorney with the City of McAllen City Attorney’s Office. He is the TYLA/ABA YLD District 25 representative, representing Central and South Texas. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.
This post was originally published in TYLA eNews and is reposted here with permission.