Texans Turn Out to Vote, Despite Confusion at the Polls
- Katya Ehresman
Common Cause Texas’ Election Protection Program helped thousands of Texas voters overcome obstacles on Election Day
AUSTIN, TX – After two counties had to extend polling site hours due to systemic problems throughout the day, polls will soon be closing in Texas. As always, Common Cause Texas and Election Protection Coalition partners have been monitoring problems, assisting voters, and identifying systemic issues that need to be addressed by state leaders.
Common Cause Texas deployed hundreds of our nonpartisan volunteers throughout the state to assist voters in making their voices heard on Election Day, with nearly 3,000 Texans making calls to the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline. The top issues our Election Protection program addressed throughout the voting period were:
- Polling sites opening late or not being fully operational throughout Election Day in Harris and Bell Counties, necessitating an extension of polling site hours
- Widespread technology issues
- Election workers wearing partisan attire intended to intimidate and dissuade voters
- Poll watchers intending to intimidate voters by taking notes behind the check-in station as voters presented their identification
- Intimidation and suppression tactics in places like Dallas, Galveston, and Montgomery
Statement from Katya Ehresman, Voting Rights Program Manager for Common Cause Texas:
“We want to emphasize that all incidents of problems we identified on Election Day were rectified, election officials were responsive, and our nonpartisan Election Protection program’s extensive, on-the-ground operation was essential to documenting and addressing these issues.
What we saw being reported most frequently today was confusion from voters about their eligibility, where to vote, when to vote, or how to navigate changes to the vote-by-mail process.
To be clear, confusion is a product of living in a state that refuses to invest time and money into robust public education on our election process. It is absolutely intentional to leave voters on their own to navigate this state’s convoluted and unnecessarily challenging voting rules.
We also saw serious issues, like election workers and poll watchers engaging in aggressive intimidation tactics that were clearly rooted in the Big Lie misinformation surrounding our election.
In the spite of these challenges, we saw high levels of persistence and voter enthusiasm flourish across the state. If official reports show strong voter turnout, it is a credit to our Election Protection efforts and Texans’ dedication to our democracy, despite partisan state leaders’ attempts to undermine it.”