Now registering voters in Travis County, Texas

I have been deputized to register voters in Travis County, Texas, and I’d like Travis County residents to know that, so I’m posting it here, even though many readers are not Travis County residents. If you’re not, please feel free to ignore this post, but you may find something interesting here.

Why fill out a voter registration card?

If you don’t like what’s happening politically in Texas, work to replace those holding office. The days of apathy are over. The least you can do is vote for someone different and better. You could also campaign for a candidate you like, make donations, write letters to the editor, hold house parties, drive people to the polls, and so much more.

One thing that many people don’t know is that just because you’ve voted in the past, it doesn’t mean your voter registration is current. For one thing, if you haven’t voted in two years, your registration gets purged. If you’re not sure when you last voted, fill out a card!

For another, if you’ve moved to Travis County or within Travis County since you last voted, you need to update your voter registration with your current address.

I can help you with that. Seriously, if you’re a Texan, contact me, and I’ll get you registered.

I have the word of Bruce Elfant, Travis County Tax Assessor, who oversees voter registration, that they’d rather you register twice than show up to vote and not be eligible. They screen for duplicates and only use the most current card.

Apparently a whole bunch of us uppity Texas women (and men) have gotten deputized to register voters recently, due to current political circumstances. I heard that over 100 people showed up to the training held yesterday.

How to become a voter registrar

If you’d like to register voters yourself, you can go through the training every Saturday at the First Unitarian Church, 4700 Grover, at 10 am, through the end of August.

You can also become a volunteer deputy registrar on Tuesdays at 10:30, 12:30, and 6:30 at the Travis County Tax Office on Airport Blvd. Training takes about an hour.

Here’s a link to the website for the latest information: Bruce Elfant runs a great program educating voters and training registrars. If your Texas county doesn’t have a great program, use the information here.

Being political and registering voters

You can be as political as you want, according to Bruce Elfant. You can sit at a table for the Democratic Party, a particular candidate you support, the Feminist Justice League, Stand With Texas Women, Planned Parenthood, or whomever sponsors voter registration drives, and register voters.

The catch is you have to register anyone who asks to register. You cannot turn anyone away because you disagree with their politics. So I’m going to let them know up front what my politics are!

I’d like to create a button, an orange t-shirt, and a bumper sticker that say:

Don’t Mess With Texas Women. I Register Voters.

I’d love to have other voter registrars go in with me on this. But I only know one other. Maybe this will reach more?

One of the best organizations going (and I’m so glad to see them in Texas) is Battleground Texas. Remember how shocked the Republicans were when Obama got re-elected? Karl Rove on Fox News, refusing to believe the truth? Obama’s campaign staff actually knew how to get out the vote. Obama’s campaigners have fine-tuned electioneering to make it extremely effective.

After he won, his national field director decided that turning Texas blue would be a good follow-up (no matter how long it takes — and it’s inevitable given demographic trends) and set up shop in Austin. Battleground Texas is not a bunch of good ol’ boys slapping each other on the back. These folks are political nerds who collect and analyze data and take action based on facts. They register voters, get them to the polls, encourage early voting, and know where to target to get great results.

Face it, Battleground Texas is the anti-Koch Brothers, the anti-Ted Cruz, the anti-Rick Perry, the anti-Greg Abbott. It’s the pro-women’s rights, the pro-democracy, the pro-Constitution, the pro-health care, the pro-education team working for a better future for the whole state of Texas.

I’m excited about working with them and am waiting to hear back about how I can register voters where it’s most needed.

P.S. added October 17: I have BGTX training on Saturday, October 19!

Abortion bill could benefit Perry’s sister? Huh?

One of my Facebook friends commented on my last blog post with a link to some “follow the money” research done by the Houston Chronicle about the abortion bill.

It seems that Rick Perry’s sister sits on the board of the Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center Society, and she is a lobbyist for a company in Addison that owns about 60 ambulatory surgical centers around the state.

The bill would effectively close down 37 abortion clinics around the state that could not afford to upgrade to become ambulatory surgical centers.

It says nothing about current ambulatory surgical centers profiting from performing abortions. It certainly does not prevent them from making that change.

So the bill is two-faced. There’s what it says it’s about, playing to the right-wing anti-choice crowd, and what it could really do, put performing abortions into new hands who will charge more money and be regulated less.

It’s estimated that 1 in 3 women will need an abortion in her lifetime. Demand won’t go away if the bill passes. Women will just go to other states or pay more at whichever ambulatory surgical centers offer it, and if they can’t afford those options, have illegal abortions or unwanted children. They won’t be safer.

The article also stated:

 It should be noted that the legislation now under consideration by the Texas Legislature is patterned after proposals that have been adopted in other states, so it did not originate with Gov. Perry’s office [cough *ALEC* cough]. Rich Parsons, a Perry spokesman said he could not say whether Perry has discussed the legislation with his sister, but said, “he strongly supports protecting women’s health by raising the standard of care they receive at abortion clinics.”

Which we now know is higher than what they’d receive at ambulatory surgical centers.

Another reason the bill stinks. Republicans: don’t vote for it!

Okay, so who REALLY wrote Texas SB5/HB2? Not a Texan.

Here’s why I say that:

  1. Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.34.47 PMThe legislator reputed to be the bill’s author, Rep. Jodie “Rape Kits Clean Women Out” Laubenberg, R-Collin County, struggled when reading the bill aloud, stumbling over the words referring to parts of female anatomy (surprise surprise, she probably got her sex education in Republican-controlled Texas), according to a witness. When you write something, you have to read the words as you put them together. You don’t stumble on words you wrote.  Jodie, you have learned what “cleaning women out” after a rape is actually called, haven’t you?
  2.  A letter from my own state rep Paul Workman bore a red flag. It’s part of the spiel that those who support this bill have cited as justification, that holding abortion clinics to the standards of ambulatory surgical centers protects women’s health. The fact is that abortion clinics are safer. This bill has now been introduced three times, in the regular session and in two special sessions. Only last week was any testimony actually given by someone who works for the Texas Department of State Health Services. The DSHS Health Facility Licensing Manager said that Texas abortion clinics are inspected every year, while ambulatory surgical centers are inspected every three years. Abortion clinics are safer.
  3. Laubenberg is the Texas chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the right-wing policy group based in Washington, DC. ALEC produces right-wing legislation for states.

Texas Republicans, it’s a bad bill, and it’s not even Texan. Don’t pass it.