Texas Rising Leaders Call on Lawmakers to Protect Voting Rights, Remove Obstacles to Casting a Ballot

by Dan Quinn

Texas Rising leaders and activists rallied today at the Capitol and put lawmakers on notice that a new generation is becoming an electoral force in this state — and they’re not going to put up with efforts to make it harder for them to vote. Check out the press release:

TEXAS RISING LEADERS FROM CALL ON LAWMAKERS TO PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS, REMOVE OBSTACLES TO CASTING A BALLOT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2019

AUSTIN – Young leaders and grassroots activists from across Texas rallied at the state Capitol today to call on lawmakers to ease unnecessary voting restrictions and reject legislation that adds even more obstacles to voting in Texas.

“This Legislature is known more for creating barriers to voting than they are for making voting easier,” said Clarissa Conde, a student at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. “So we’re making it crystal clear to lawmakers that we demand an end to the kinds of tactics that target young people like me to keep us away from the polls.”

Conde and other speakers addressed students who traveled to the Capitol on Texas Rising Advocacy Day. They called out specifically the state’s voter ID law, which limits ballot access particularly for low-income Texans, racial minorities and young people. In fact, the law does not even allow students to use their college and university IDs to access the voting booth. Speakers also called for on-campus voting locations as well as online voter registration. Texas is not among the 38 states plus the District Columbia that already allow or have moved to implement online voter registration.

Texas has long had one of the lowest rates of voter turnout in the country. The state’s laws are littered with obstacles to voting. More bills to make voting harder are pending in the Legislature. And earlier this year, the Texas Secretary of State’s office publicized bogus claims about “illegal voters,” threatening the registration of tens of thousands of Texans.

Jocelyne Torres, president of the Texas Rising chapter at the University of Houston-Downtown, pointed to increased turnout among younger Texans in November.

“We are a major rising electoral force to be reckoned with, and we will use our power to vote for representatives who are working towards more progressive goals,” Torres said. “We are building our power by being here today, and we will continue to do so with more advocacy events, by registering voters, and by asking elected officials to make it easier for us to vote.”

Texas Rising is sponsored by the Texas Freedom Network and has a presence on more than 20 college and university campuses across the state. The group brings together Texans ages 18-29 to build a grassroots movement through community organizing, electoral politics and public policy advocacy.

During the November elections, Texas Rising mobilized and trained hundreds of young, progressive activists across the state in voter registration and get-out-the-vote work. Their work included:

  • Registering tens of thousands of new potential voters under the age of 30
  • Engaging in an intensive get-out-the-vote effort targeting 100,000 Texans under 30, with 250,000 voter contacts through text- and phone-banking, tabling, campus-based events and old-fashioned door-knocking
  • Building a list of potential voters through peer-to-peer outreach and a digital advertising campaign on multiple platforms that targeted millions of voters under the age of 30

Younger Americans are more racially, ethnically and religiously diverse than older Americans, according to the Pew Research Center. They also tend to have more progressive views on a host of issues, including racial and economic equality, immigration reform, LGBT rights and abortion.

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Texas Freedom Network

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