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Houston Chronicle, “Texas voter registration surges to 16.4 million, despite the pandemic”

6 min read

From The Houston Chronicle:

Not even the worst pandemic to hit Texas in a century was enough to stem the surge in voter registrations that has remade the state’s electorate over the past four years.

Just since March, Texas has added nearly 149,000 voters even as the political parties and voter registration groups face new obstacles in signing up people in a world of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

The state now has a record 16.4 million voters, 2.1 million more than it had just over four years ago — a 15-percent increase in registrations that is nearly equivalent to the voter rolls of the entire state of Connecticut.

“It is a totally different electorate than it was in 2016,” said Luke Warford, voter expansion director for the Texas Democratic Party.

Harris County and Bexar County have led the way in the last three months with voter registration efforts. In Harris County, voter rolls have grown by 16,000, while in Bexar they are up almost 14,000. Combined, the two counties account for one-fifth of the increase in registrations statewide.

Warford said for both parties and all candidates, those new voters have thrown a wild card into the 2020 elections as the parties try to get them to break their way. Texas just isn’t accustomed to this sort of surge.

Texas voter registration rolls historically have grown very slowly. From 2002 to 2012, the rolls grew by 800,000. But now, registration is in hyperdrive. Just since November of 2018, Texas has added almost 600,000 voters.

Some of the change is coming from transplants moving from other states, while many others are coming from minority communities that voter registration advocacy groups have targeted over the last four years.

In short, Brandon Rottinghaus, a University of Houston political science professor, said 2020 is setting up as a real shootout in regions of the state that have become more competitive because of the diversification and growth of the electorate.

“It’s another step toward Texas being a true battleground,” Rottinghaus said.

This is huge news not just for our chance to flip the state to Biden but also to get rid of this idiot:

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said during a TV interview on Thursday that it’s unclear whether children can get and transmit COVID-19. That same day, Texas reported more than 550 COVID infections in children 9 and younger.

Cornyn’s comment comes as the Trump administration has pushed this week for schools to reopen in the fall, with the president going as far as to threaten to cut off federal funding for those that don’t. In Texas, officials have said schools must reopen in August with few exceptions.

Asked about reopening schools, Cornyn said during an interview on NBCDFW that “the most important thing is safety.”

“The schools can open but if parents don’t feel comfortable sending their children back, then they won’t,” Cornyn said. “I think we’ve got a long way to go in regaining their confidence.”

He continued: “The good news is, if you look at the numbers, no one under the age of 20 has died of coronavirus.”

“We still don’t know whether children can get it and transmit it to others,” he said.

Texas reported 1,722 confirmed cases in people 19 and younger, including 550 in children 9 and younger as of Thursday. At least one Texan under the age of 18 is reported to have died from the coronavirus, a 17-year-old girl from Lancaster, who died in April, according to health officials there, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Can you have to give credit to Beto O’Rourke (D. TX) who’s group, Powered by People, has been it crushing it with registering voters. By the way, received this e-mail today from Beto:

Things are bad, and getting worse.

The question is, what are we going to do about it?

My view is that, in order to make it better in the long term, we have to win elections. Put people in office who believe in science, follow the facts, and do what is right, regardless of the politics. That’s why I’m hosting a phone bank this next Thursday, July 16th, where we will reach out to hundreds of thousands of Texas Democrats. The results from these calls will be shared with the Texas Democratic Party as well as Democratic candidates up and down the ballot (courthouse to state house to White House) to use for Get Out the Vote efforts in the fall.

In the midst of this pandemic, unable to knock on doors, hold rallies and town halls, and totally dependent on phone-to-phone field work, Texas Democratic candidates will be able to leverage our work to contact their voters. They won’t have to waste time calling bad numbers or Trump supporters, because our volunteers will have made the millions of calls necessary to cull extraneous numbers and return a verified, usable list of Texas Democrats that we can turn out during early voting and on Election Day.

That’s why we’re doing this work now, to win these elections in November.

We don’t want to look back on this day from election night wondering whether we could have done more. Let’s do everything we can now.

As if we needed any additional clarity on the stakes of this election, yesterday we learned that Texas had reached a new record for Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations, and that the United States recorded its highest single-day spike in new cases.

In Corpus Christi, they’ve run out of room in the morgue and they’re requesting morgue trailers from FEMA. In the Rio Grande Valley they’ve run out of nurses. El Paso, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Houston are all seeing record spikes in transmission, hospitalizations and death.

These are the consequences of past elections.

America elected a President who is contemptuous of public health guidance. The man in the most powerful position of public trust ignores the scientists and doctors whose advice might have kept us safe. He instead chooses to traffic in lies, create chaos and confusion, leaving us the country hardest hit by the virus. Americans represent 4% of the global population but we are now 25% of the world’s cases and deaths.

Texas elected a Governor who, in the words of the Houston Chronicle, chooses to “embrace partisan politics and a fringe populist backlash over common sense and sound medical advice from his own advisers.” Governor Abbott has “condemned the Lone Star State to the circumstances we face today: Hospitals near the breaking point. Nearly 3,000 Texans dead — and counting.”

But if it is the elections of these men that left us in such desperate straights, it’s the elections in November that can begin to make things right.

Electing a Democratic majority to the state house for the first time in 20 years puts people who believe in science, in expanding access to healthcare, in addressing the disproportionate burden that Black and Latino Texans carry in this crisis into power. And awarding our 38 electoral college votes to the Democratic nominee for President for the first time in over forty years spells the end of Trump and the beginning of something much better.

But the only way to make these changes, the only way to win these elections, is through the hard work of contacting the voters who will decide them. That’s what we do and we’d love to have your help doing it.

Please join us:

Virtual Voter Contact Phone Bank with Beto

Thursday, July 16
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. CT

RSVP now

Thank you,


Click here to RSVP for Beto’s Phone Bank.

We also have a big Texas Senate Democratic Primary runoff between MJ Hegar and Royce West. Click below to donate and get involved with Biden’s campaign and with the Democratic candidate of your choice:

Joe Biden

MJ Hegar

Royce West

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