Write Your Reps! Save the U.S. Postal Service

Updated July 31, 2020. This letter will go to your senators and House representative.

New reporting confirms what we feared: Trump is gutting the U.S. Postal Service to slow delivery of mail-in ballots.

CNN: USPS workers sound alarm about new policies that may affect 2020 mail-in voting

Fortune: Trump-backed postmaster general plans to slow mail delivery

In addition to being a public utility, encoded in the Constitution, the USPS provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans, including a disproportionate number of veterans and minority groups.

Timely delivery of mail-in ballots will make elections safer during the pandemic. Also, consider the number of Americans receiving prescription drugs via USPS; missed deliveries could be a death sentence for them.

In order to keep the Postal Service afloat, advocates are asking Congress for $25 billion in immediate assistance, a $25 billion modernization grant to overhaul infrastructure, and $14 billion in debt forgiveness.

The USPS is an invaluable system that we cannot take for granted.

Write Your Reps! Tell Greg Abbott: Keep Texas voting during the coronavirus pandemic

Statement by League of Women Voters of Texas President Grace Chimene on Election Changes Needed Needed to Deal with COVID-19:

We are all very concerned about the growing COVID-19 health threat to our local communities, all of Texas, the nation, and all the nations of the world. The Leagues of Women Voters across the country and in Texas are particularly concerned about protecting our citizens’ ability to participate in elections and maintaining our democratic way of life. Voters should not have to choose between voting or protecting their health.

Write your reps! Tell your senators: Protect our vote during the coronavirus pandemic

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, vulnerable Americans are going to have to choose between casting a ballot and protecting their health. Vote-by-mail is a time-tested, reliable way for Americans to exercise their constitutional rights, and the right answer to respond to this crisis.

Tell your senators to support the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act (NDEBA) of 2020.

Statement from Indivisible Austin on Trump’s visit to the Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention in Austin, Texas

President Donald J. Trump, for the third year in a row, will address farm and ranch families at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st Annual Convention. The address is scheduled for January 19 in Austin, Texas, at the Austin Convention Center.

When Trump was in Austin last November, Indivisible Austin helped to organize a rally opposing his presence in our city.

This time around, we are choosing instead to focus on local organizing to vote Donald Trump and his enablers out of office at all levels of government. (We will support any individuals or groups who feel called to organize a protest of Trump’s visit.)

Trump and Farmers

Trump speaking to farmers does raise some interesting points. First, is his lie that smaller farms and farmers are “big beneficiaries” of cash payments intended to ease the effects of Trump’s tariff war with China.

Trump lies about payouts to small farms

According to a study by the Environmental Working Group, “the ‘richest of the rich’ — the top 1% — received 13% of the federal payments, or more than $177,000 each. The bottom 80%, on the other hand, got an average payment of $5,136.”

Additionally, according to the Washington Post, the past two years have been marked by a sharp rise in bankruptcies in the nation’s deepest farm country.

Get Involved

As we gear up for 2020, we’ll need all hands on deck. Sign up here to be notified of regular get-out-the-vote meetups and other volunteer opportunities. Feel free to indicate whether you have special skills or interests. Everyone is welcome!

Sign up to volunteer for upcoming meetups and blockwalks

Resources

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-vowed-to-help-small-farmers-but-heres-where-the-aid-is-really-going-2019-12-03

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/12/21/after-miserable-farm-sector-still-came-out-ahead-thanks-government-assistance/

 

Anti-Voter bill SB 9 turns the clock back on Democracy

Courtesy of Move Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project

What is SB 9?

SB 9 seeks to make voting much more difficult, confusing, and scary for voters, all while creating more red-tape and bureaucracy for county election administrators. In 2018, a record number of Texans showed up to the polls to participate in our midterm elections. Instead of encouraging more democratic participation, SB 9 seeks to keep more and more Texans from voting in the future.

What does SB 9 do?

  • Threatens voters with jail time and enormous fines:​ Voters could be punished for innocent mistakes, such as filling out their voter registration form wrong.
  • Scares voters by weakening their right to a provisional ballot: ​Voters have a right to a provisional ballot when they sincerely believe they are eligible to vote, but this bill exposes them to possible jail time for doing so.
  • Creates new red tape for those who need assistance while voting, in particular elderly voters, voters with disabilities, and non-English speaking voters: ​Those who drive voters to the polls and assist them while voting will have to fill out burdensome new forms just to help people vote.
  • Injects partisanship into our elections: ​It allows partisan poll watchers to follow voters who need assistance into the privacy of the voting booth and watch them have their ballots marked.
  • Expands dangerous new powers to law enforcement: ​It gives law enforcement complete legal immunity from prosecution for committing election-related crimes, allowing law enforcement to conduct undercover sting operations against community-based organizations.
  • Exposes innocent people to arrest for vaguely defined conduct:​ Individuals who are assisting voters or exercising their right to free speech face new, confusing penalties for “impeding a walkway, sidewalk, parking lot, or roadway” up to 500 feet from a polling place, an area larger than a football field.
  • Gives state officials more access to voters’ private information:​ AttorneyGeneralKenPaxton would be given direct access to the electronic voter registration database, which includes Social Security Numbers, Driver License Numbers, and other personal information.

    What can I do to stop SB 9?

    SB 9 would make voting harder and scarier for thousands of our fellow Texans who just want to have a voice in their democracy. We must reject SB 9, and focus instead on holding our leaders accountable in making it easier for more communities to participate in our democracy.

Indivisible Austin Joins Call to Block David Whitley’s Nomination

Say NO to David Whitley, say NO to voter suppression

Today Indivisible Austin joined more than 30 groups in calling for the Texas Senate Democrats to block Secretary of State nominee David Whitley’s confirmation.

“We, the undersigned Texas organizations, call on you to affirmatively block the confirmation of David Whitley for Texas Secretary of State. In the two months since Governor Greg Abbott appointed Mr. Whitley to serve on December 17, 2018, it has become exceedingly clear that Mr. Whitley is unfit to serve in that office.”

Read the full letter with signatories

Ask your State Senator to block Whitley’s nomination

Write Your Reps! Say NO to David Whitley for Secretary of State

Say NO to David Whitley, say NO to voter suppression

Take action today and tell your State Senator that voter suppression has no place in Texas, and that they must vote NO on the confirmation of Secretary of State David Whitley.

In January the Texas Secretary of State — who is a nominee and NOT confirmed yet — issued an advisory that drove Ken Paxton, Greg Abbott and even Donald Trump into a froth of voter-fraud-conspiracy theorizing.

To recap: Texas officials flagged 95,000 voters for citizenship reviews. Now their entire case is falling apart. The vast majority of people on the list likely registered to vote after becoming naturalized citizens. But unless the SOS rescinds the advisory, every county in Texas is expected to commit resources to checking the citizenship status of people on the list. Some counties have already sent out letters, while others continue to check the rolls and clean up the mess the Secretary of State made.

In 2018 Texans voted in record numbers for a midterm election, and much of the growth in turnout came from Latino voters. The timing of this attempted voter purge is suspicious, and despite the massive data failures lawmakers are using the purge as the basis for enacting more vote-suppressing legislation this session.

In just his first few months in office, David Whitley has proven his incompetence and that he’s inadequate to the task of managing elections and voter rolls. He has lost the public’s trust and shown a chilling lack of respect for our citizens’ right to vote. We believe a Secretary of State should protect, defend and expand our access to the ballot, not create a climate of fear to suppress the vote.

As of now, three lawsuits regarding the attempted voter purge are pending against Whitley. As of Thursday, February 14, the Senate Nominations committee had yet to vote on his nomination, despite having held two hearings.

We join with our allies who have filed these lawsuits, and the many others who believe David Whitley must not be our Secretary of State.

More background:
Commentary: The GOP doesn’t really care about democracy — only power (by Jolt Texas’s Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez)

TCRP Responds to Secretary of State David Whitley’s Confirmation Hearing (Texas Civil Rights Project)

Where the hunt for voter fraud is worse than the crime itself (Washington Post)

In addition to calling, emails are an effective way to reach your elected representatives. If your reps don’t appear in these campaigns, you can usually find a contact form on their website. Another alternative is ResistBot, which allows you to contact your reps via text message, Twitter, or Facebook—it’s fun!

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

 

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