For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Contact: Zenén Jaimes Pérez, Communications Director
Contact: Stacie Burgess, Communications Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Civil Rights groups launch public education campaign on Texas’ voter ID
Problems with early voting demand greater explanation for Texas’ voter ID law
Austin, TX — Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Texas Civil Rights Project launched a public education campaign to explain Texas’ voter ID law. The groups’ paid media campaign through Election Day utilizes the Texas Association of Broadcasters’ Public Education Partnership program for nonprofit and government agencies. It includes English and Spanish-language Radio and TV spots in all Texas media markets and targeted digital video ads that will deliver more than 1 million impressions to Texans across the state.
Data and information collected by the Election Protection hotline suggests that much confusion still remains about the recent federal court-ordered changes to the voter ID law. Reports indicate that polling locations in Bexar, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Hays, McLennan, and Travis Counties, at a minimum, are posting misleading or inaccurate information regarding the need for photo ID to vote. In several cases, voters were almost turned away from the polls due to the law. The Texas Civil Rights Project has already sent a letter to the Secretary of State asking that he take immediate steps to solve the problems of inaccurate information about photo IDs.
Additionally, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a lawsuit last Friday afternoon after attorneys and volunteers visited and documented illegal enforcement of the voter ID law in more than 25 percent of Bexar County’s early voting polling places.
The public education campaign includes 30-second digital video and 30-second radio advertisements in both English and Spanish explaining the requirements for photo ID and what voters can do if they reasonably could not obtain a photo ID. It also directs voters to more information as well as the 866-OUR-VOTE and 888-Ve Y-Vota Election Protection hotline numbers.
Mimi Marziani, Executive Director with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said:
“Over the past week of early voting, we have seen confusion and many troubling instances regarding the state’s voter ID law. No voter should be at risk of being turned away at the polls due to last minute changes to the state’s already discriminatory law. Our public education campaign will educate voters throughout the state about the law and arm them with the information they need to cast a ballot that counts during early voting and on election day.”
Maria Peralta, Senior National Coordinator, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said:
“Empowering voters means educating voters about their rights. Based on what we've seen since the start of Early Voting in TX, it is clear that there is a need for more accurate information about the expanded voter ID rules. We are excited about this expansive media campaign that will reach voters across the state of Texas. And as always, Election Protection stands ready to help voters with any questions or problems at the polls."
During early voting, the Election Protection coalition is encouraging voters to call the toll-free English language hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE. Additionally, Spanish-speaking voters may seek bilingual assistance through the 888-VE-Y-VOTA hotline and Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi, and Bengali speakers can use the 888-API-VOTE number.