In 2018, Texas made great strides in increasing voter turnout, increasing voter participation by 18 percentage points since the previous midterm election in 2014. However, even with that increase, Texas still ranked in the bottom half of states in terms of voter turnout by state. In fact, fewer than 50% of Texans exercised their right to vote.
As Texas Young Lawyers Association board members, we are excited to share one of our newest projects to help boost voter turnout! In advance of the November 2020 election, TYLA has created the resource Vote America: Court the Vote to encourage voter registration and to educate the public on the right to vote.
As part of Vote America: Court the Vote, TYLA board members shared voter information push cards with governmental and nonpartisan voting rights organizations throughout Texas. Currently, the League of Women Voters of Texas is providing electronic copies of the cards to its volunteers. Additionally, Houston Justice and the Texas Jail Project are providing physical copies to eligible voters in custody throughout Texas.
Along with a helpful Q&A on voting rights in Texas, the push cards also include a QR code that takes anyone to the correct website for checking voter registration in Texas. The cards are available in both English and Spanish and include phone numbers for the Election Protection Hotline in multiple languages.
Additionally, the full TYLA Vote America project is available for viewing at https://tyla.org/resource/vote-america/. The project reminds us of our civic duty and educates students about the heroic efforts made for equality and democracy. The struggles of the civil rights era, passage of the Voting Rights Acts of 1965, and the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are all chronicled in this historical video.
Feel free to use and share these resources. They are made with the intent of providing service to the public and providing free civics education for individuals throughout Texas.
Stay safe and go vote 2020!
Brandon Draper is the TYLA director for District 6, Place 6 (Houston).
Laura Pratt is the TYLA director for District 3 (Lubbock).