Take Action: Stop Trump’s Unconstitutional Attack on Asylum Seekers

Take Action

What’s Next

In case you missed our post-election email: Our next steps remain the same. We will continue to defend our most vulnerable community members against the rising tide of global authoritarianism. We will continue to hold our elected officials accountable. And we will begin to focus on the next round of elections.

Get involved with #TXLEGE >>

Pledge to Fire John Cornyn in 2020 >>

Stop Trump’s Unconstitutional Attack on Asylum Seekers

Following the same playbook as the 2017 Muslim Ban, the Trump administration introduced new measures to deny asylum to people who cross our southern border. The ACLU and other partners have already filed a lawsuit. Of course, with Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, anything could happen.  The best thing you can do now is support these orgs:

The ACLU’s statement  explains that “Federal law specifically guarantees that ‘[a]ny alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States,’ at a designated port of entry or not, is entitled to apply for asylum.”

From RAICES: “For over 60 years the United States has joined other nations in giving asylum seekers the opportunity to seek safe haven. It is a sacrosanct principle of both U.S. and international law, and under no circumstances can it be taken away at the whims of a President who has shown no respect for the rule of law.”

Tell your reps that Matt Whitaker must recuse himself, and the Mueller investigation must be protected

Last week, after the firing (er… “resignation”) of Jeff Sessions, thousands of people took to the streets across the country to send a message that such obvious obstruction of justice will not be tolerated. Now we need to hold our reps accountable for the President’s actions. Call Cornyn, Cruz, and your House rep to demand:

  • Matthew Whitaker must recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation
  • Congress must launch investigations into Trump’s obstruction of justice—and Democrats should be publicly committing to do so when they take control of the House in January. (You can thank Rep. Lloyd Doggett for joining the marchers at City Hall in Austin.)

Read Indivisible’s latest resource on protecting the Mueller investigation >>

How your voices are making a difference

  • Democrats flipped the House
  • Women and LGBT candidates were elected in record numbers.
  • Erin Zwiener delivered both a win to the Texas house and a baby

Read more wins from last week >>

Action of the Week: You Voted

These races weren’t supposed to be close. And Texas voter turnout was the highest since 1970.

#BeATexasVoter It Feels Great

Table showing narrowing gap in GOP wins between 2014 and 2018

Your Moment of Zen

 

A gorgeous win for sanity | How your voices are making a difference

“Exit polls, Election Day polls and actual returns showed significant gains for Democrats in suburbs and among independents…. Democrats have captured the middle.”

If you’ve heard people bemoan that last Tuesday’s elections weren’t a decisive win for Democrats, please smack those voices down—Tuesday was a gorgeous win for sanity from the local level up—and the local level is where our movement builds and really matters.Democrats flipped the House, gained hundreds of legislative seats, secured the majority of state attorneys general, and garnered two-thirds of the seats up for grabs. Of those we didn’t, most were Republican-held seats in deep red areas that were always highly unlikely to flip.

Women and LGBT candidates were elected in record numbers. Not only did Minnesota elect its first openly gay Congresswoman, but she defeated Jason Lewis—remember him? The guy who bemoaned the fact that he couldn’t call women “sluts” anymore.

Want some numbers? For the Senate, the popular vote for Democrats was 40,558,262, or 55.4 percent; for Republicans it was 31,490,026 votes, or just 43.0 percent. (But read this article for an explanation of why we shouldn’t freak out over the inequity.)

Some environmental/conservation wins. In Georgia, up to $20 million of existing sales tax each year will go to land conservation; Florida banned oil and gas off-shore drilling; and in Nevada, electric utilities must now get 50% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030.

Here in Texas we flipped four influential state appeals courts—in Austin, Houston and Dallas—and Dems picked up 12 seats in the Texas house and broke the supermajority in the senate, meaning that they will now need Democrat support to bring bills to the floor. In Austin, 7 ballot initiatives were passed aimed at affordable housing, libraries and museums, parks, infrastructure, and health care, while we voted down a Koch-brothers-funded proposition to force unnecessary budget “audits.”  Despite heavy intentional redistricting by the GOP in the Dallas metroplex to ensure they would never lose elections in that area, the GOP nonetheless lost 12 of 14 seats there, flipped by the Democrats.

And just for symbolism, first-time candidate Erin Zwiener delivered both a win to the Texas house and a baby during her campaign, thus giving birth to the future while also working to create a better one. J 

Even where we lost, we showed how much progress progress is making in a year of record-breaking voter turnout: In dozens of races lost to Republicans they had to fight tooth and nail to eke out a win by the narrowest of margins. In heavily GOP-gerrymandered Texas, four historically double-digit GOP offices were won by scant single digits, and Beto came within a hairbreadth of defeating Rafael Cruz.

A few more juicy tidbits:

And if you really want a delightful treat, try to picture Mike Pence administering the oath of office to two Muslim women on a copy of the Qur’an, or the look on the face of the Colorado baker who refused a cake for a gay wedding when it sinks in who he now has for a governor. Is the federal government messed up? You betcha. And it’s discouraging that so many people are still supporting so much anti-American, anti-decency behavior. BUT…! Change happens from the ground up, and Tuesday showed that the earth is shaking, babies.

Meanwhile the GOP “family values party” demonstrated quite literally that there are no depths to which they will not sink in abandoning decency for party agenda by electing three indicted felons, a white nationalist, and a dead pimp. No, seriously.

Overall, this election was a win. And it just keeps getting better. As this article states, here is the key takeaway from this election that we must continue to build on [emphasis mine]: “Exit polls, Election Day polls and actual returns showed significant gains for Democrats in suburbs and among independents. In the Washington Post-Schar School Election Day poll of battleground district voters, independents preferred Democrats by double digits, and independent women favored Democrats by more than 20 points. Democrats have captured the middle. The polling also shows that young voters and racial minorities — the future American electorate — turned out in healthy numbers for Democrats.”

This is a marathon and not a sprint, folks. We’re not there yet, but Tuesday’s results should show us how effective our sustained efforts to safeguard democracy have been—and can continue to be if we stay in the battle.

Republicans Against the Law

Social and Civil Rights Advances

After last week’s Google-employee walkout, the company has announced it will no longer require forced arbitration for sexual harassment or assault claims.

Motel 6 will pay $7.6 in damages to Hispanic guests in a class-action lawsuit for illegally alerting ICE to guests they suspected to be undocumented immigrants. The company will also sign a two-year consent decree barring it from sharing guest data with immigration authorities absent warrants, subpoenas, or threats of serious crime or harm.

Republicans Reconsidering

Even FOX News found Donald’s ad too racist—the one about the immigrant who came in during George W. Bush’s administration, and was released by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and who killed two police officers.

Feel-good Stories of the Week

RBG is back, babies.

I got other ribs, bitches

What’s next

What’s next

Last night we flipped the U.S. House of Representatives, including at least two seats in Texas. This represents a seismic shift in the direction of our country. The incredible wins in the Texas House show that many Texans are ready for change at the #txlege, even if we weren’t able to change statewide leadership. Yet.

Of course we are disappointed, as you are, about Beto O’Rourke’s loss, and about losses in other statewide and US House seats around which we’ve been organizing for the past two years. A major silver lining is in the Texas legislature, where 12 House seats flipped, including four seats in Central Texas races where we endorsed. (Congrats to newly minted reps Zwiener, Goodwin, Talarico, and Bucy!)

Our next steps remain the same. We will continue to defend our most vulnerable community members against the rising tide of global authoritarianism. We will continue to hold our elected officials accountable. And we will begin to focus on the next round of elections.

At the state level, the 2019 Texas Legislative session begins in January. This will be a critical time to stay engaged. There are likely to be bills on gun violence prevention, immigration, health care, public education and other important issues that affect our lives directly.

Click here if you're interested in TXLEGE

At the federal level, in addition to all of the same House seats we’ve grown to love and hate, Senator John Cornyn is up for reelection in 2020. Beto O’Rourke showed us what was possible statewide. We have two years to fire John Cornyn. We invite you to take the pledge to do just that.

(And psst! Check out senatorjohncornyn.com!)

Commit to firing John Cornyn. Pledge Now.

It’s also important to remember that our objectives go beyond electoral politics. Our friends at TX10 Indivisible identified four reasons to celebrate:

  1. We have created a broad network of progressive activists like nothing that ever existed before in Texas.
  2. We have succeeded in changing the conversation in policy areas such as healthcare and immigration.
  3. We have developed tools to make our elected officials more accountable to progressives and we have learned new ways to engage them more effectively.
  4. We have become a more knowledgeable and engaged electorate.

An engaged citizenry is good for democracy. We’re all due for a rest after this wild midterm election cycle. But we’ll soon be back at it, and glad to have you by our side.

 

Take Action: How to persuade people to vote

You voted. Now be a voter multiplier.

Two things are true:

  1. Early voting turnout was impressive.
  2. We could still lose.

We have an uphill battle: gerrymandering of our House districts, voter intimidation and suppression, old and buggy technology—all contribute to the likelihood of losing on Tuesday.

Chances are you have already voted. So now your job is to be a voter multiplier by finding friends, family, neighbors and even strangers and convincing them to vote. And if you haven’t already voted, polls are open on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Travis and Williamson County voters can vote at any polling location.

Get more 2018 midterm resources to share with friends and family >>

Spend an hour on Election Day calling other Texas voters

We’re contacting 3,000 Texas voters to get out the vote. You can call from home, from work, from wherever you are comfortable. If you’ve phonebanked with us before, follow the first link for instructions on logging into OpenVPB. Otherwise, follow the second link to connect to the national Indivisible team’s phonebanking tool, which includes Texas races.

How to persuade people to vote

You’ve already voted, right? RIGHT? So now you can be a VOTE MULTIPLIER by asking friends and family to vote. Go through your phone’s contacts and pick at least three people to remind about Election Day. Don’t worry about being annoying. All will be forgiven after the elections.

We asked on Facebook what others have found to be persuasive and got some great responses:

“I’ve been texting them (including neighbors) all conversationally, asking if they’d voted, and sending them a list of their polling places. The more you ask, the more social pressure they have to do so. So far it’s working!”

“Personal contacts, conversations, direct Facebook contacts, polite but persistent “bugging”, almost always with the words ‘it’s important.'”

“One friend was hesitant because she didn’t feel well informed enough to vote. We directed her to some resources that the local papers put out with candidates/positions/bond props so she had a source to do some research.”

“If anyone in your family is around my age, you may soon be taking care of them. Without Medicare, you’re it.”

“I don’t know if it’s helping, but I have other mom friends and have been offering to babysit while they go to the polls. No one has taken me up on it yet, but I hope at least it’s a gentle reminder to vote!”

Join the conversation >>

Action of the Week

Our canvassing team with Indivisible’s co-executive director Ezra Levin (back, left, sporty jacket). Turnout levels across all demographics have been extraordinarily high. But don’t get complacent.

Your moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

This is it. You’ve gotten to the end of this email,  and we are at the end of this election cycle. You can see how much we’re working. We’re putting in the effort, putting in the hours, putting in the miles walking neighborhoods.

We will NEVER give up, and we can always do more, but doing more—before the election and after—means more food for volunteers, more printing, and more events.

To do more, we need more support, your support. Be an Indivisible Austin supporter today.

Don’t get complacent | How your voices are making a difference

11.5.18 “There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.”

Considering Texas’s usual abysmal voter-turnout rates, it’s astonishing that our state this past week led the country in first-time voter numbers, with more than 200K new voters voting already. We lead the next-largest new-voter turnout, in California, by more than double (at 90K).

Early turnout for voting in Texas has increased 508% among voters under 30, a stratospheric jump being attributed largely to enthusiasm among younger voters for Beto O’Rourke. Turnout levels across all demographics has been extraordinarily high.

But don’t get complacent.

Now more than ever, every vote counts—here are ten times elections came down to a single vote. Vote like your rights and our democracy depend on it—because they do. Call friends to encourage them to vote; offer rides; post on social media. And no matter how things go on Tuesday, here are some ways to make sure we aren’t contributing to the nation’s divisiveness and anger.

In a hopeful sign for future elections, Maine is instigating ranked-choice voting in the first general election ever, in an effort to avoid nasty and expensive runoff battles.

In other news, this week thousands of Philadephians—as well as the mayor, as well as the former president of the synagogue where the victims were shot, who called Donald “a purveyor of hate speech”—asked Donald not to come to their town until the victims of the right-wing terrorist who shot 11 Jewish people in a synagogue last Saturday had been buried. He went anyway, though congressional leaders declined to go with him. One of the victim’s family, whom Donald offered to meet, declined his visit. The “very stable genius” said the Pittsburgh protest was “small” and he didn’t see it. Here’s the actual protest, a scant mile from where Donald was. Mike Pence showed up with a “rabbi”—who preached Jesus as savior (to JEWISH people) and asked them to pray for Republicans. (I wish this were satire, but it’s true.)

Republicans Against the Law

It was quite a week for legal smackdowns of the GOP.

This week judges ruled that:

And a new lawsuit has been brought to federal court alleging that Donald and three of his children used the Trump name to intentionally mislead vulnerable people to invest in sham corporations.

At least three probes by the inspector general of the Interior department are underway against Ryan Zinke for violations of ethics and rules—one of which has been referred to the Justice department.

Republicans Reconsidering

Former House speaker Joe Straus penned an op-ed calling for unity and civility, and denouncing the current GOP administration for its divisiveness.

Even Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report was appalled by FOX’s reporting of the recent right-wing terrorist attacks.

Even Paul Ryan rejected Donald’s dog-whistle distraction of threatening to end birthright citizenship by executive order.

Even Kanye West is realizing he’s been a political pawn and announced he will be removing himself from politics (to the relief of a grateful nation)—but not without a parting statement, of course, and one that seems to belie everything else he’s spewed in the last months: “My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in…. I support holding people who misuse their power accountable.

I believe in love and compassion for people seeking asylum and parents who are fighting to protect their children from violence and war.”

The Wall Street Journal—a bastion of conservative thought—reported that the U.S. Treasury expects to issue more than $1 TRILLION of debt in 2018, thanks to the GOP tax break for corporations and the wealthy.

Speaking of the conservative financial sector, for the first time in a decade, more Wall Street political money is going to Democrats than Republicans—not necessarily great news for those who understand the damage big-money interests wreak on our government, but certainly a powerful statement about the current state of our country that the typically Republican-leaning financial sector is distancing itself from GOP corruption.

Michael Cohen can’t stop revealing terrible truths about Donald—most recently that Don John frequently used racist language during the 2016 campaign and before. (Meanwhile Donald’s racist ad stating that Democrats allowed a Mexican man accused of killing two policemen into the country hilariously backfired when it was revealed that the man came into the country under George Bush and was released by racist felon sheriff Joe Arpaio.)

Mitt Romney railed against Donald’s repeated attacks on the media as the “enemy of the people,” saying “Denigrating the media diminishes an institution that is critical to democracy, both here and abroad…it comes with a large cost to the cause of freedom,” and stating the that media are “very much our friend.”

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Thousands of Google employees across the world staged a walkout last Thursday to protest the company’s payouts of departing executives accused of sexual harassment, and Google’s silence about the allegations.

More than 56 corporations, including giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook, confronted the GOP administration over its recent efforts to attack the civil rights of transgender people.

GoDaddy is the latest business to withdraw from Gab, the far-right hate-speech social media site where Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers was active, following PayPal, Medium, Stripe, and Joyent.

Undaunted by GOP attacks on free speech and civil protest of shootings of African Americans, an NFL cheerleader for the San Francisco 49’ers knelt for the national anthem.

University of Maryland football coach DJ Durkin, under whose leadership a player died of heatstroke, lost his job a day after his school announced he’d keep it, after an upswelling of student and lawmaker outcry.

Feel-good Stories of the Week

The New York Times is “failing” all the way to the bank and millions of readers—circulation soared past the 4 million mark this past quarter, a previous record, profits jumped 30 percent, and the stock has gained almost 24% in the last month. Attacks on the press seem to instill a new respect and gratitude for it.

Ben and Jerry’s has resistance ice cream! $100K of profits for Pecan Resist will go to progressive causes “to lick injustice and champion those fighting to create a more just and equitable nation for us all.”

I’d love to say “tens of people” showed up for a rally Steve Bannon tried to hold in Kansas, but in reality the number was only 17. Ten-and-two-thirds of people, I guess…. J

Shepard Smith continues to be the sole voice of reason and fact at FOX News with this extraordinary commentary amid Donald’s baseless fearmongering about the asylum seekers from Central America: “There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.” There are over 2,000 miles between Mexico’s southern border and the US, Smith pointed out, and a similar previous incident resulted in only 14 arrests: “We’re America. We can handle it.”

Oprah damn Winfrey went to Georgia and literally campaigned door to door for Stacey Abrams, and it. Was. Awesome. She also gave a phenomenal introduction to the gubernatorial candidate at an Abrams rally that smacked of awesomeness.

Here’s a visual representation of how much we can accomplish when we work together: When a beloved bookstore in Southampton, England, had to move to a new location nearby, more than 200 patrons showed up to help, forming a human conveyor belt passing books along one by one until the entire store was relocated.

Keep this idea in mind when you VOTE.

Election Night Watch Party Roundup

Polls close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6. If you’d like your event to be included, please email noah@indivisibleaustin.com with details.

Election Night Watch Party for Mike Siegel!

You’ve volunteered, knocked doors, made calls, written postcards, and – most importantly – voted! Now it’s time to celebrate all of our hard work as we watch the results roll in on Election Night!

Billy’s On Burnet
2105 Hancock Dr.

RSVP on Facebook

Julie Oliver and Indivisible TX25 East Watch Party

Contigo
2027 Anchor Ln.

Legislate This! & The Show Up Election Night Watch Party

Legislate This! is a burlesque benefit that raises money for our local Planned Parenthood chapter. The Show Up is a group of Austin artists looking to engender more civic action. Please join both groups at the North Door for a night of patriotic celebration. Civic duty and civic booty collide on Election Night!

The North Door
502 Brushy St.

RSVP on Facebook

Beto for Texas Election Night Watch Party

Join the your neighbors and Wells Branch Pop-Up #1 volunteers for an election night watch party! Weather permitting we will set up a screen/projector in the backyard to watch the results come in. Please bring a lawn chair and/or blanket and snacks to share!

Wells Branch Pop-Up #1
3400 Ruby Red Drive

RSVP

Texas Democrats Election Night Party

Join the Texas Democratic Party and Travis County Democratic Party with Lupe Valdez, Mike Collier, Justin Nelson, Joi Chevalier, Miguel Suazo and more!

The Driskill
604 Brazos St

RSVP

 

Take Action: It’s the Final Countdown

Lives Depend on Your Vote

Last week, a Trump zealot in Florida mailed pipe bombs to prominent Trump critics, including Jewish investor George Soros, and on Saturday a gunman walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and murdered 11 worshipers on Shabbat. The gunman believed the fake, yet very mainstream, rumor that refugees fleeing violence in Central America is a Jewish conspiracy.

White supremacy and anti-Semitism are deeply intertwined. When right-wing marchers openly chanted “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville, and our own elected politicians send fearmongering fundraising emails about “globalist George Soros,” it becomes inevitable that someone would commit hate-fueled violence. This hatred against Jews is the same hatred that fuels attacks on Muslims, immigrants, African-Americans, the LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable groups.

These are deeply dangerous and troubling times, made vastly worse by a President who lacks any empathy or ability to act outside his own self-interest. This week, and on Tuesday, November 6, we can bend the arc of history closer to justice.

Why are Texas voting machines switching votes and what can you do about it?

Hart eSlate voting machinesIf you’ve voted in Travis County, you are familiar with the voting machines that bear more resemblance to rotary telephones than to any technology currently in use. Those machines have been buggy in the past few elections, and this one is no different—except that there is massive national attention on the race at the top of the ticket between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz.

Zenén Jaimes Pérez of the Texas Civil Right Project explained to GQ that “for nearly two decades, Texas has relied on Hart eSlate voting machines, which look sort of like giant PalmPilots and are manipulated using a selection wheel and an ENTER button. Manipulating both of these things at the same time, it seems, is what can lead to unintended and very unwanted results.”

Thanks in part to the Texas Civil Rights Project’s petition campaign, the Texas Secretary of State issued further guidance for how to ensure your vote is counted properly.

Read more detail from TCRP and the Texas Secretary of State >>

It’s the Final Countdown: Last Weekend

If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, now is the time to suit up. We need you. Texas needs you. And if you’ve been canvassing, phonebanking, texting, dragging friends across broken glass to the polls—thank you. Let’s redouble our efforts through November 6.

Indivisible Co-Executive Director Ezra Levin will be here to canvass with us!

RSVP to Canvass with Ezra and other GOTV activities >>

Take Action

Open Enrollment

You may be excused if you’ve forgotten that open enrollment for HealthCare.gov insurance plans starts on Thursday, Nov. 1 given all the election excitement. As a movement we spent nearly a year fighting to stop the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and we succeeded. Despite ongoing attempts to sabotage the ACA, insurance plans and financial help to pay for them are still available for 2019 just as they have been for the last 5 years.

  • Open enrollment is November 1 – December 15
  • No change to pre-existing condition coverage
  • No change to to financial help with premiums and deductibles
  • Friendly, local help is available to get enrolled

Free enrollment assistance is available from Foundation Communities 7 days a week >>

Yes to Pale Ale, No to Baby Jail

Children’s Defense Fund-Texas is hosting a “comment party” where you can swill beer (or a soft drink) and submit comments about the Trump Administration’s proposed rule to end the Flores settlement and allow indefinite detention of children.

WHEN: Monday, October 29, 5 to 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Wright Bros. Brew and Brew, 500 San Marcos Street #105

RSVP on Facebook (or just show up)

How your voices are making a difference

  • After pressure from Texas State students, Hays County agreed to extend campus voting hours
  • More than 200 journalists signed a letter openly accusing Donald of deliberately inciting violence against the press
  • After the #MeToo movement brought down 201 men credibly accused of sexual abuse and harassment, nearly half their positions have been filled by women.

Read more ways your voices are making a difference >>

Congress Critters of the Week: The #MAGABomber Both-Siders

We’re rounding up quotes from our elected leaders in response to the multiple assassination attempts on prominent Trump critics. They usually follow the same formula: Issue bromide about how all violence is bad, and then pivot to complaining about unruly mobs on the left.

Sen. Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

“Let’s be clear. The anger and rage that we’ve been seeing on the far left is deliberately provoked and stoked by Democratic politicians. When Maxine Waters and Corey Booker tell the mob to go harass, scream, yell, confront people — that is not productive. When Hillary Clinton, sadly, says that we can be civil after the Democrats have won the election, that’s not productive either.” —Dallas Morning News

See quotes from Cornyn, McCaul, and Williams on our website >>

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

This is it. You’ve gotten to the end of this incredibly long email,  and we are at the end of this election cycle. You can see how much were working. We’re going to be putting in the effort, putting in the hours, putting in the miles walking neighborhoods.

We will NEVER give up, and we can always do more, but to do more, before the election and after, means more food for volunteers, more printing, and more events.

To do more, we need more support,  your support. Be an Indivisible Austin supporter today.

 

It’s the Final Countdown: Last Weekend

If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, now is the time to suit up. We need you. Texas needs you. And if you’ve been canvassing, phonebanking, texting, dragging friends across broken glass to the polls—thank you. Let’s redouble our efforts through November 6.

Early Voting ends on Friday. If you haven’t already voted, don’t wait until Election Day when lines might be insurmountable. We have maps to the polls and tons of other resources.

Canvass with us and Indivisible co-executive director Ezra Levin!

RSVP for one of the four Final Countdown Canvasses at your website of choice…

Saturday 10 a.m. to noon

Saturday 1 to 3 p.m.

Sunday 10 a.m. to noon (remember Daylight Savings!)

Sunday 1 to 3 p.m. (remember Daylight Savings!)

Join our Election Day phonebank.

Why are Texas voting machines switching votes and what can you do about it?

Hart eSlate voting machinesIf you’ve voted in Travis County, you are familiar with the voting machines that bear more resemblance to rotary telephones than to any technology currently in use. Those machines have been buggy in the past few elections, and this one is no different—except that there is massive national attention on the race at the top of the ticket between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz.

Zenén Jaimes Pérez of the Texas Civil Right Project explained to GQ that “for nearly two decades, Texas has relied on Hart eSlate voting machines, which look sort of like giant PalmPilots and are manipulated using a selection wheel and an ENTER button. Manipulating both of these things at the same time, it seems, is what can lead to unintended and very unwanted results.”

Thanks in part to the Texas Civil Rights Project’s petition campaign, the Texas Secretary of State issued further guidance for how to ensure your vote is counted properly:

  • When voting a straight-party ballot, wait at least 3-5 seconds for all choices to be rendered on the eSlate voting machines. Counties in which voters have longer ballots may require additional time to allow the screens to load fully.
  • Once all the candidate choices for that particular party have been fully loaded, take your time to slowly review each choice in each race before advancing to the next screen.
  • When advancing to the next screen, be sure the screen is fully loaded before scrolling through to the subsequent pages.
  • Once you have reached the summary page, carefully review each choice listed to ensure the candidate selected is, in fact, the candidate for whom you wish to cast your vote.
  • If you find that one or more of your choices are displayed incorrectly on the summary page, hit the ‘PREV’ button and choose the candidate for whom you wish to cast your vote.
  • If any issues persist, ask for assistance from an poll worker at your polling location, and the poll worker will ensure that the machine is working properly and advise you on the proper steps to take to cast a ballot with only the candidates of your choosing.

What to do if you encounter a problem at the voting booth

Call 866-OUR-VOTE. The Texas Civil Right Project (TCRP) is fielding calls for our state. We know and trust the people handling those calls. When we first heard about the problem with the eSlate machines, we contacted our friends on the election protection team at TCRP, and will continue to follow up with them when we hear about voting challenges.

Texas Civil Rights Project, League of Women Voters-Texas, and Voto Latino are among the groups that make up the Texas Election Protection Coalition. When you call 866-OUR-VOTE your call isn’t going to a random call center somewhere outside of Texas. Although the number is a national hotline, calls for Texas will be answered by locally trained election protection volunteers who can assist with recommendations of what to do in the moment, and then help elevate problems to attorneys. TCRP has trained election protection volunteers across the state, and will continue trainings in the DFW and Houston areas this week.

The hotline is available in several languages. Please report voting challenges when you see them. Don’t ever leave the polling place feeling as though something didn’t go quite right with your ballot.

English  | 866-OUR-VOTE  | 866-687-8683

Spanish / English  | 888-VE-Y-VOTA | 888-839-8682

Asian Languages / English  | 888-API-VOTE | 888-274-8683

Arabic /  English |  844-YALLA-US  | 844-925-5287

Voting News! | How your voices are making a difference

10/29/18 “Trump’s condoning of political violence is part of a sustained pattern of attack on a free press”

Voting news!

Early voter turnout levels have been gratifying—first-day voter turnout for early voting resulted in long lines all day across Texas—in Travis County it nearly tripled from 2014; in Dallas more than tripled from 2010 and 2014. Here are up-to-the-minute tallies of turnout county by county in Texas.

After Texas State students complained that Hays County was suppressing student voting by offering truncated polling-station hours on campus for early voting, the county agreed to extend it, as well as to open it for Election Day.

The Dallas News endorsed Beto O’Rourke, stating that his “inclusive and hopeful tone, along with O’Rourke’s approach of starting with shared principles and working toward solutions, offset any policy differences we have with him. Leadership is more than policy, and whether we are addressing the very real challenges before us now turns on our ability to find points of agreement.”

A fabulous new law in Oregon provides that all eligible voters in the state are automatically registered to vote unless they opt out. WHICH IS BRILLIANT. Come on, 49 others—step up.

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Fox and Friends invited four independent voters on, clearly seeking scare reactions regarding the caravan of refugees making its way through Central America, but the stunt backfired hilariously. BTW, if you’d like some excellent rebuttals for ignorant invective against the asylum seekers, you might remind people that seeking asylum is actually legal immigration, not illegal, and that in the last year 70 percent of asylum seekers were found by U.S. judges to have legitimate grounds for fleeing their homeland. Oh, and that in Germany, where Donny likes to tout the entirely fictional apocalyptic effects of refugee resettlement, crime has actually gone down 10 percent. And here’s a fact-checker article debunking Donald’s claims about the caravan.

Meanwhile, in the wake of ten unsuccessful bombing attempts against targets that Donald has expressly incited violence against, more than 200 journalists signed a letter openly accusing Donald of deliberately inciting violence against the press—despite his refusal to accept responsibility even in the face of his own words condoning, praising, and calling for violence against the press and even his attempts to deflect blame onto the media with no rationality or factual backing. “Trump’s condoning of political violence is part of a sustained pattern of attack on a free press – which includes labeling any reportage he doesn’t like as ‘fake news’ and barring reporters and news organizations whom he wishes to punish from press briefings and events.” The letter continues to gather signatures. (And the man apparently behind the bombing is like the poster child for Donald’s base.)

Ever insensitive to anything other than his own interests (and ever reluctant to call terrorism by its name when white people are involved), Donald tweeted that ”this ‘Bomb’ stuff” was hurting Republicans in the midterms because “the news [is] not talking [about] politics.”

Donny may have revoked John Brennan’s security clearance, but he can’t silence the outspoken former head of the CIA. “Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act. … try to act Presidential. The American people deserve much better. BTW, your critics will not be intimidated into silence,” he wrote on Twitter Weds., as Donald continued to shift blame away from himself for the recent bomb attacks on his political opponents.

A VA official in Donny’s administration hung a picture of the nation’s first KKK grand wizard in his office, despite staff complaints, till they circulated a petition that finally forced him to take it down.

Republicans Reconsidering

This is what happens when you are a transwoman who aligns yourself with the Republican party.

This is what happens when you’re Caitlyn Jenner, a prominent representative for the trans community, and you back Donald and then he tries to invalidate your civil rights not even two years later. “The leader of our nation has shown no regard for an already marginalized and struggling community. He has ignored our humanity. He has insulted our dignity.” Uh, yeah. Did you not see that one coming?

This is what happens when a school in Colorado invites a drag queen to come speak at career day, and some parents freak out—and the school stands by having invited her.

In yet another example of a Republican candidate’s family publicly denouncing his fitness, twelve family members of Nevada GOP gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt wrote an op-ed opposing his candidacy on the grounds of his misleading ads, phony claims, and incompetence in a short-lived career as a lawyer, and decrying his positions on immigration, health care, reproductive rights, and other concerns.

Republicans Against the Law

Remember Georgia senator David Perdue snatching a phone from a student’s hand last week when the student asked him a question about voter suppression? The Georgia Tech junior is suing Perdue for battery.

Georgia is having quite a time with its racist Republican self—a federal judge ordered officials in Gwinnett County (my hometown, sadly) to stop tossing absentee ballots on trumped-up charges of signature discrepancies made by non experts.

Yet another White House ethics violation is being cited by a watchdog group—this one against Kellyanne Conway for illegally using political messaging—including MAGA merchandise—in her tweets, and for expressing political views in an official capacity in an interview in her office.

federal court ruled that part of Donald’s order denying federal funding to sanctuary cities is unconstitutional, upholding two lower-court rulings.

Anthony “not trying to suck my own cock” Scaramucci is spewing at the mouth again, this time calling his former boss Donald a liar.

Not for the first time, Donald lied about his supporters, touting the “50,000 people lined up outside whom we love,” seemingly supported by widely circulated picture on social media showing a huge crowd all clad in Republican red—except the picture is actually from Cleveland, not Houston, and isn’t Donald fans but Cleveland Cavaliers fans celebrating the team’s 2016 NBA championship win. In the words of former Donald campaign manager Corey Lewandowsky mocking a young immigrant girl separated from her mother, Womp, womp!

Senator Jeff Flake said on The View that despite not being sure he believed Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony in his Supreme Court nomination hearings, he voted for him anyway.

In response to a NYTimes article revealing that Donald regularly uses unsecured cell phones for communication that are vulnerable to security breaches, Donald stated that he rarely used a cell phone in a fact-free denial of the well-supported article that he tweeted—from his iPhone.

Megyn Kelly’s show was canceled at NBC after she made racially insensitive comments (again).

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Along the route of the caravan of asylum seekers coming from Central America, small-town residents throughout Mexico are offering them food, shelter, and kindness. “We know that we are all brothers. What God gives us, we should share,” said one resident. “We do it with a lot of love.”

After the #MeToo movement brought down 201 men credibly accused of sexual abuse and harassment, nearly half their positions have been filled by women.

In the face of the preseident of the United States full-throatedly identifying as a nationalist (like Hitler and Stalin did), you might enjoy this thoughtful TED talk about how nationalism and globalism can coexist.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Early voting goes on through November 2, and the midterm vote is November 6. Find your local polling place here or here. Anyone who needs to get a ride to the polls can call the Travis County Democratic Party at (512) 472-VOTE. (You can sign up for a shift to help drive people to the polls here.) Find out what’s on the ballot here or here. Sign up to help make phone calls to encourage people to the polls here or here or here.

VOTE. VOTE. VOTE.