First, a quick reminder about tonight’s 3rd Annual Senator Yarborough Judicial Retirement Celebration, which starts at 5 p.m. at the Headliner’s Club. We’ll be honoring Judge Mike Lynch, and we’d love to see you there. You can learn more, get tickets and donate by clicking here.
The Celebration reminds us that the election is just 49 days away, and the ballot will have more than just people on it — there will also be a number of propositions up for your consideration. One that’s especially important for Democrats is Proposition 1.
Prop 1 will improve health care for you and your family, create more healthcare options so you won’t have to travel to other cities for treatment, support a new medical school at UT-Austin, create 15,000 jobs at all skill levels and dramatically improve health care for the uninsured and under-insured — saving taxpayers money as more folks avoid the emergency room.
Prop 1 has been endorsed by many Democratic groups, including the Travis County Democratic Executive Committee, North By Northwest Democrats, Austin Environmental Democrats, Capitol Area Progressive Democrats, South Austin Democrats, Capital Area Asian American Democrats, Austin Young Democrats and Austin Tejano Democrats. The Austin Central Labor Council, Huston-Tillotson University, Austin Area Urban League, Cap City African American Chamber, Hispanic Physicians Association, and Greater Austin Hispanic Chambers also have endorsed it.
But frankly, you wouldn’t know that from reading the coverage in the daily paper. The fact is that our Democratic endorsements haven’t received much attention in the American-Statesman. By contrast, an extreme right-wing Republican who has run unsuccessfully for seats held by State Representative Mark Strama and former Tax Assessor/Collector Nelda Wells Spears got a story on the cover of the Metro section simply by opposing the measure and defaming its most prominent sponsor, State Senator Kirk Watson.
So please vote yes on Prop 1, and tell your friends how much it means for them and their families.
MORE VOTER SUPPRESSION IN TEXAS?
Republican attempts to intimidate and suppress Texas voters continue.
Last week we learned that the Secretary of State’s office has mailed out more than 80,000 letters statewide to voters they “presume” to be dead, including 2,200 in Travis County and more than 9,000 in Harris County. These people were informed that they must prove they are alive within 30 days in order to remain on the registration rolls and be eligible to vote.
We don’t know how many of these voters are actually deceased, but many were alive enough to complain. Travis County resident Michael Moore, a loyal Democrat, called the appropriate agencies, our office and the media to alert people to the problem. He was quoted in last week’s Texas Tribune article, expressing his concern that these letters were sent only weeks before the deadline for registration (October 9) and little more than a month before the November election.
This purge came less than a week after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled in favor of a Texas law that makes it more difficult to register voters. I’m happy to report that Cheryl Reese, our volunteer coordinator in the Voter Registration Division of the Travis County Tax Office, assures us that we have been registering thousands of voters in the appropriate way. Nothing has changed for us, so we will keep working.
We don’t want anyone to be disenfranchised by voting restrictions. The Voter ID Law and the redistricting cases have both been found to be discriminatory and have been blocked by the courts. As Texas becomes even more demographically Democratic, Republican leaders continue attempts to put up roadblocks. As this election season heats up, I urge everyone to be vigilant about our voting rights and to make sure that we bring as many people into the process as possible. Up and down the ballot, we have great candidates, and we are working hard for them.
Finally, I hope you will join us for Saturday’s 2012 Austin Pride Parade. The TCDP has participated in this event for many years, and it is always a fun way to support our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community. So meet us at the Capitol steps about an hour before the 8 p.m. start time. And if you would like to help us register voters, we have a full lineup of opportunities pegged to the festivities of Pride Day. Sign up for any or all of them here!
Travis County Democratic Party Chair
PS: On Sept. 25, the Honorable Ben Barnes and his wife Melanie are hosting an event honoring State Senator Wendy Davis, from 5:30 to 7:30 at their home in Austin. Please RSVP by clicking here and join us!