Your Voting Rights

September 12, 2020

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Texans deserve to have their voices heard at the ballot box this November. Yet politicians in the state and across the country continue to implement voter suppression tactics. Those obstacles range from strict voter identification requirements to roadblocks for voting by mail.

The ACLU of Texas fights attempts to curtail voting through our litigation and advocacy because we believe not one eligible Texas voter should have to encounter needless interference while trying to participate in a historic election.

    Our Voting Demands

    The ACLU of Texas is committed to aggressively challenging barriers to participating in our democracy and demanding that leaders make voting as safe and accessible as possible. As part of our campaign to protect this fundamental right and Let Texans Vote, we are calling on state and local elections officials to do the following:

    • Promote and Expand Early Voting: We call on state and local leaders to create widespread awareness of early voting starting a week early on Oc. 13. We also call on the state to further extend the early voting period.
    • Fully Fund Safe Polling Locations and Protect Poll Workers and Voters: We call for more support, including funding, to local election administrators to set up additional polling places, including curbside voting, as well as funding for personal protective equipment (PPE) for poll workers and voters to ensure as many people as possible are able to vote safely. Elections administrators should commit to ensuring poll workers are available to prevent closures like those in Dallas and Bexar counties in the July runoff.
    • Eliminate the 30-day Deadline to Register: Allow voters whose lives have been disrupted by the pandemic to register to vote up to Election Day. Counties should also identify ways to ease the burden of voter registration, such as by mailing voter registration forms to eligible residents. 
    • Protect Vote-By-Mail: Ensure voters are able to cast their ballots by mail through expeditious processing of requests for mail-in ballots.

    How You Can Join the Fight

    • Support Crystal Mason, a Black mother of three, who filled out a provisional ballot in the 2016 election without realizing she was not eligible to vote. She now faces an absurd five-year federal prison sentence, even though her vote was not counted. Sign our petition showing your public support for Crystal Mason.
    • Tell Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Secretary of State that they must do everything in their power to protect voters during the pandemic. Send an email now demanding that they safeguard Texas voters’ health during elections.
    • The ACLU of Texas fights voter suppression and to make access to the ballot box easier. See what our advocates accomplished at the 2019 Texas Legislature session.

    Our Fight for Voting Rights

    • We sent letters to 16 Texas counties flagging potential violations of the Voting Rights Act for failing to provide information about voting or elections in accurate Spanish. One county had translated Party Chair to Presidente de “Fiesta” instead of “Partido.” Some counties also translated the term “runoff” election as election “leak” or “drainage.” We demanded that these counties follow the law and provide accurate and complete election information to Spanish speakers.
    • ACLU of Texas attorneys will be participating in the Election Protection Hotline, 866 OUR VOTE, responding to questions about voting and helping Texans who see activity they believe is infringing on their fundamental right to vote.
    • The ACLU of Texas has been representing Crystal Mason, a Tarrant County woman who was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for casting a provisional ballot that was not counted in the November 2016 election, in her efforts to appeal that conviction.
    • The ACLU of Texas, ACLU Voting Rights Project, New York Civil Liberties Union, and Arnold & Porter filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of immigrants’ rights groups challenging President Trump’s order seeking to block people who are undocumented from being counted in the U.S. Census.
    • In September, we filed a court brief supporting the Harris County Clerk’s decision to send vote-by-mail applications to every registered voter in Harris County, which is being challenged by the Texas Attorney General. We, along with the Texas Civil Rights Project, are representing the League of Women Voters of Texas.