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Voting Rights 


We are dedicated to ensuring that our elections remain free, fair and accessible. 

Voting is a fundamental right and all eligible voters should have the equal opportunity to exercise that right.

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Latest News

Our voting experts recommend that you pay attention, particularly in this election year, to letters in the mail from the Dallas County Elections Office.  You may be asked to confirm information as part of a routine process. 

The Dallas League of Women Voters recommends that citizens who want to start the voter registration process online, do so with the Texas based nonpartisan, nonprofit - Register2Vote. It is the safe way to register during the pandemic. 

The process can take 60 days. Your application form will be mailed to you, and per Texas law, you need to write-in your social security number or your license number on the form, sign it and mail it. Postage is already included!

If you are eligible to vote-by-mail and need an application, you will find detailed instructions on our Voting How to Vote by Mail webpage. 

  





The Dallas League Supports the Safety of All Voters

We want you to be safe when you vote!

The League of Women Voters of Texas joined a law suit with other parties to ask a Texas District Court to allow all individuals who lack immunity from COVID-19 to vote by mail. The state district court agreed.  The ruling was appealed by the Attorney General of Texas, Republican Ken Paxton, to the Texas Supreme Court.  The Texas Supreme Court ruled that lack of immunity is not sufficient reason to qualify to vote-by-mail, but maintained that each voter needs to assess their individual health and decide if they meet the code’s definition on an individual basis. 

In a federal law suit,  a panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit blocked a lower Texas Federal judge’s order to allow all Texans to request absentee ballots if they are fearful of catching COVID-19 at polling places. The U.S. Supreme Court let stand the 5th Circuit ruling. Federal court activity continues - read this  Texas Tribune article for the latest information.


The Texas Secretary of State, Republican Ruth R. Hughs, released the following advisory:  Election Advisory of April 6, 2020

In Texas, in order to vote by mail, a voter must have a qualifying reason.  A voter may vote early by mail if they: 

  • will be away from their county on Election Day and during early voting;
  • are sick or disabled;
  • are 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
  • are confined in jail, but eligible to vote.
One of the grounds for voting by mail is disability. The Election Code defines “disability” to include “a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on election day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter's health.” (Sec. 82.002).  If a voter believes they meet this definition, they can submit an application to vote by mail


The League of Women Voters of Texas and the Dallas League encourage all eligible voters who meet the above to apply to vote by mail.



Voting-by-Mail Rules Vary Across the USA


Map of State vote by mail rules
Five states use vote-by-mail as the default voting process.

29 states and the District of Columbia  allow any voter to vote absentee.

Texas is one of 16 states that require a reason to vote absentee.

Source Rakich Nathaniel,  April 27, 2020, Five-thirty-eight



Definitions of Vote-by-Mail and Absentee Voting
 
Absentee Ballot:
The practice of mailing in a ballot began during the Civil War with soldiers who were off fighting in other states.  Over the years, it expanded to include other people who would be "absent" from their home on Election Day - like the U.S President - then later to people with disabilities,  the elderly and those with other excuses for not being able to vote in person.  Today, residents in all 50 states can vote absentee, though in some places an excuse is required. 

Vote-by-Mail:
Because most voters in a no-excuse absentee ballot state are no longer "absent", many elections officials have begun using the term "vote-by-mail" or "mail-in-ballots" as a catch-all term for ballots sent through the mail. One national think tank uses the term "vote at home" as an alternative, while a research group calls it "voting outside the polling place."

Source  "Absentee Ballot Versus Vote-by-Mail? A Guide to Election Terms", Ryan Teague Beckwith, August 4, 2020, Bloomberg)


















Over 125,000 Eligible Voters Need to Register in 2020
In 2016, 48% of Dallas County Eligible Voters Didn't Vote


2020 Bargraph of eligible voters
The League is working hard to help eligible voters register in a pandemic! 

Talk to your friends and friends of friends, and share with them the information on Dallas County voter turnout and urge voter registration and participation in the November election.

Tell them Why You Vote!

Volunteer, Support and Join the League.  Thank You!




2016 Bargraph Voters who failed to vote







Texas Political Party Positions on Voting Rights from their Platforms 

2020 Texas Republican Party Platform

 


1096 (Elections)

204. Bond Elections: State and local bond election ballots should be required to include the amount of debt currently outstanding, current debt service payments, current per capital  debt obligations, th
e amount of new debt being proposed, estimated debt service for the new debt, and estimated per capita burden being proposed.  The bond issue must obtain a yes vote of a minimum of 20 percent of registered voters at an election administered by the County.  No public funds are to be spent influencing a bond election. We oppose bundling of items onboard election ballots and "rolling polling" for bond and tax rate increase elections.


205. Judicial Candidate Speech:  We support a state constitutional amendment that would enable judicial candidates to express their beliefs in general terms before elections to thus inform voters of their views. 

206. Pay-to-Play Endorsement Slates:  We oppose "pay-to-play" endorsement slates and urge Republican primary voters to exercise extreme caution regarding any endorsement or statement made in these slates.

207. Early Voting: We support that early voting will be limited to 7 days, ending on the Friday before Election Day. 

208. Fair Election Procedures:  We support the right of eligible voters to cast a ballot in each election once but oppose illegal voting, illegal assistance, or ineligible persons registering.  We support vigorous enforcement of all our election laws as written and oppose any laws, lawsuits, and judicial decisions that make voter fraud very difficult to deter, detect, or prosecute. We support Voter Photo ID.  Internet voting for public office and any ballot measure should be prohibited. 

209. Ballot by Mail: We oppose any attempt to expand the criteria for ballot by mail in Texas because of the potential for voter fraud. We support increased scrutiny and security in balloting by mail. 

210. Offense Enforcement for In-Person Voting: We support raising to felony status infractions of the Texas Election Code during in-person voting, including allowing persons not in the poll book to vote a regular ballot, willfully misclassifying the reason for a provisional ballot, giving one voter multiple ballot access codes or multiple ballots, and all forms of voter assistance not compliance with Texas Election Code, especially "assistants" who force themselves on voters to influence their votes. 

211. Felon Voting:  We support the constitutional authority of state legislatures to regulate voting, including enfranchisement of convicted felons. 

212. Actual Residence:  We support changes to the appropriate sections of Texas law that would deny or cancel homestead exemptions, driver licenses and License to Carry, if the addresses on those documents DO NOT match the address on the voter's registration. 

213. Consolidated elections: All public elections, with the exception of specially called elections, should be consolidated to Primary and General Election days and locations.

214. Voter Registration: We support restoring integrity to the voter registration rolls and reducing voter fraud.  We support repealing all motor voter laws, re-registering voters every four years, requiring photo ID of all registrants, requiring proof of residency and citizenship along with the voter registration application, retaining the 30-day registration deadline, and requiring that a list of certified deaths be provided to the Secretary of State in order that the names of deceased voters be removed from the list of registered voters.  We support periodic checks on the voter rolls to ensure all currently registered voters are eligible, with prompt removal of ineligible voters.  We should give the Secretary of State enforcement authority to ensure county registrar compliance with Secretary of State directives.  We also support revising Title 19 funding to avoid incentivizing retention of ineligible voters. 

215. Ballot Harvesting:  We support stiff criminal penalties against so-called "ballot harvesters," those who collect or fill out mailed ballots on behalf of a campaign.

216. Campaigning at Poll Sites: We encourage free speech at polling sites outside of the existing boundaries.  The right to campaign, including the display of signage, with respect to current state law, at an appropriate distance (100 feet) from the polling place, shall not be infringed. 

217. Voting Rights: We support equal suffrage for all United States citizens of voting age. We oppose any identification of citizens by race, origin, or creed and oppose use of any such identification for purposes of creating voting districts.  We urge that the Voting Rights Act of 1965, codified and updated in 1973, be repealed and not reauthorized. 

218. Direct Elections of State Judges: We support our right to select our judges by direct vote. 

219. English-Only Ballots: English, and only English, shall appear on any ballot for any election in the United States of America and in the State of Texas. 

220. Closed Primary: We support protecting the integrity of the Republican Primary Election by requiring a closed primary system in Texas. 

221. Crossover Voting:  We welcome people to join the Republican Party who support limited government and traditional values. We oppose campaigns to get liberal Democrats to crossover and move the Republic party to the left in the primary.

222. Redistricting:  We support drawing districts based on eligible voters, not pure population.  We believe districts should be geographically compact when possible.  We oppose any redistricting map that is unfair to conservative candidates in the primary or the general election.  

223. County Chair Elections: We support the election of Republican County Chairs - for counties with more than 70,000 residents - by their respective County Executive Committees. 



2018 Texas Libertarian Party Platform

I.5 ELECTIONS
1.5.a. Verifiable Balloting 
LPTexas supports transparency in all publicly funded elections through verifiable ballot receipts and/or electronic tracking.  We oppose any efforts to count the votes outside of public view. 

I.5.b. Party Affiliation
LPTexas opposes mandatory affiliation, at the time of voter registration, either as an Independent or with a political party. We support voting as a voluntary expression of the right to freedom of association.  LPTexas opposes partisan labels on the ballot, as well as straight-ticket voting. 

I.5.c. Primary Screen-out
LPTexas supports the right of voters to decide who will be on the ballot. As such we support legislative efforts which would remove restrictions regarding eligibility to sign candidate and party petitions to appear on a ballot. All eligible voters should have the opportunity to vote their opinion.  Their voice should not be silenced due to their participation in a primary election or their decision to sign an alternative candidate's petition. 

I.5.d. Initiative and Referendum 
LPTexas supports the right of citizens to propose state laws or constitutional amendments through a referendum process. 

I.5.e. Electoral Recall
LPTexas supports the rights of the People to recall elected or publicly appointed officials from any public office within their jurisdiction. 

I.5.f. Election Reform 
LPTexas supports election reform that does away with a two-party duopoly and the uncontrolled corporate and PAC influence that exists today.  LPTexas believes that party primaries are not a function of the state, and rather are processes which should be self-funded.  We also believe that all races should be decided by a more representative election process that includes a choice for  None Of The Above (NOTA). We support transparency of all monies utilized by or on behalf of any campaign or elected official. 










2020-2022 Texas Democratic Party Platform
 


Voting Rights and Fair Elections 

1. Recognize November's Election Day as a state and federal holiday;

2. Combine local, state, and federal elections to minimize how often voters have to to go the polls each year;

3. Develop a robust and continuous voter education and outreach programs, especially for youth, communities of color, voters with disabilities, and other underserved populations;

4. Increase access to the ballot through same-day registration, online registration, adherence to federal "Motor Voter" laws, the repeal of voter registrar deputization requirements, automatic registration for eligible Texans aged 17 years and 10 months or older, and sending vote by mail applications to Texans on their 65th birthdays;

5. Implement countywide vote centers, extended and accessible early voting periods, curbside voting, and universal,  no-excuse vote by mail, especially to protect the most vulnerable in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic; 

6. Provide funding, suppliers, and a clear plan to county election officials to ensure voter safety is prioritized; 

7. Reinstate mobile voting so counties can better ensure rural voters, students, and seniors have access to the ballot;

8. Remove the undue burdens on students by placing polling locations at all institutions of postsecondary education;

9. Allow Texans who will turn 18 by Election Day to participate in the preceding Primary Elections;

10. Ensure voters with disabilities have equal access to the ballot via accessible polling places and accommodations, curbside voting, and accessible vote by mail, with poll workers trained in the law, procedures and equipment use;

11. Repeal the highly restrictive and discriminatory Texas Photo Voter ID law; 

12. Protect voting rights by enforcing the Texas Voting Rights and the federal Voting Rights Act with restored preclearance provisions; 

13.Incorporate paper back-ups and an auditable paper trail into voting systems;

14. Provide education on, and work towards implementation of, ranked choice voting in order to further promote strong democratic ideals and provide more choice to Texans across the state;

15.End racial and political gerrymandering by creating a nonpartisan redistricting commission; and

16.Support the elimination of the Electoral College and join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, and until the compact is effective, proportionally award Texas's presidential electoral votes based on the U.S. Presidential results within the state. 



2019 Green Party of Texas State Platform



B. Political Participation

1. We will act to broaden voter participation and ballot access, urging Universal Voter Registration and Primary and General Election Day Holidays that are statutory paid holidays.  We would revise voter registration to be fully accessible to all voters and include same day registration and online registration. 

2. We believe that Texas voters should have a binding "none of the above" option on the ballot for every elected office. 

3. We support removing restrictive ballot access laws modeled after Louisiana and Mississippi. 

4. We support the creation of a system for designating electoral district boundaries that eliminates gerrymandering. 

5. Texas citizens should have the right of Initiative and Referendum to create state laws and constitutional amendments. In the twenty-four states that already have an Initiative and Referendum process, it has been used to get women the right to vote, establish the eight-hour workday, reform campaign finance laws, and improve term limits on elected officials. 

6. The Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution has been incorporated into the constitutions of all 50 states because it is singularly the most important statement of principles on which our secular democratic republic was founded.  As citizens, we need the fundamental human freedoms it enumerates to vote intelligently,  to hold public office, and to govern.  Because every United States citizen should be keenly aware of these rights, the Green Party of Texas supports requiring the the United States Bill of Rights be prominently displayed in every public facility of our nation, especially the White House, the halls of Congress, the Supreme Court, every courtroom, state/county/municipal office buildings, parks, and the classrooms of every educational facility receiving any amount of public funding.