Make a Plan to Vote!
Date Posted: 9/28/2022
Election Day is just around the corner, and Texas’ voter registration deadline is just over two weeks away. It’s time to make a plan to vote so we can ensure our voices as educators are heard.
First things first: If you have not registered to vote, the last day to do so is Tuesday, Oct. 11. Keep in mind that same-day voter registration is not available in Texas.
What does it mean to make a plan to vote?
For some, it means voting early. In Texas, that would be between Oct. 24 and Nov. 4. Others may opt to vote on Election Day Nov. 8. And others who are eligible will cast their ballots through mail.
Making a plan also includes covering all your bases, logistically.
How: Do you plan to vote in person or by mail? To be eligible to vote by mail, you must meet the criteria outlined here. Whichever way you plan to vote, keep in mind voter registration applications are not accepted online. You can start a voter registration application here. Alternatively, you can pick up an application at your local post office, library, or Texas Department of Public Safety office. Once you’re registered, keep an eye on your voter registration status at votetexas.gov.
Even if you previously registered and received your voter registration card, it’s always a good idea to confirm your registration status—especially if you’ve recently moved, had a name change, or haven’t voted in a while. Name and address changes should also be completed by Oct. 11 to avoid any difficulties at the polls when you show up to vote.
Who: Visit ATPE’s Teach the Vote website to research candidates’ and officeholders’ stances on the issues we’re facing today, including school safety, vouchers, educator compensation and benefits, TRS, testing, and curriculum. You’ll find responses to ATPE’s candidate surveys, as well as current lawmakers’ voting records on education bills. TexasEducatorsVote.com also has election resources geared specifically toward educators. After you’ve done your research, you can build and print out a personalized sample ballot at Vote411.org to take with you to the polls.
When and where: Election Day voting hours are 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, but polling place hours will vary at each early voting location. Find your polling location by visiting votetexas.gov or contacting your county clerk.
Why vote in the midterm election?
Many decision makers who directly impact your career are on the ballot this November. When the Texas Legislature convenes this January, the elected officials who win their respective races will tackle demands for addressing our state’s education needs at a time when public schools are facing critical staff shortages, parents want to know their children are safe at school, retired educators are struggling to make ends meet, and privatizers are looking to cash in on taxpayer funding for vouchers.
But Texas’ future has traditionally rested in the hands of just a small portion of the voting-eligible population. In the 2018 general election, for example, only about 8 million of the approximately 20 million voting-age Texans turned out to vote. In 2014, almost three-fourths of the voting-age population registered, but under a quarter of that total population showed up to the polls for the November general election. Low voter turnout means educators who vote have great opportunities to determine the outcome of many races from the top of the ballot with congressional and statewide contests down to local offices and propositions at the bottom.
ATPE Lobbyist Mark Wiggins takes a deeper dive into the importance of showing up to vote in this 2021 Teach the Vote blog post. There, you’ll find additional resources to help prepare you for the ballot box.
Be sure to share these resources with your colleagues and friends, and urge them to make a plan to vote, too. Only by coming together and acting as one voice can we truly advocate for public education!
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