Submitted by Michele Samuelson
As many of you know, Wells Branch has a great registered voter rate, but a really terrible history with voter turnout. In an effort to help alleviate this, I’ve written up some info on this year’s election cycle, pulling from both the county and the two major political parties. This year’s election calendar is kind of cluttered and complicated (early voting for the primary election has begun!), so I wanted to share some information with you all.
1 – Voter Registration Cards. By the time you read this, if you are a registered voter in Travis County, you will have received your yellow voter registration card. If you did not, you should verify that you are registered here: http://www.traviscountytax.org/showVoterSearch. Do so before contacting the Voter Registration office.
2 – Voter Registration. The deadline to register to vote in time for the primary election has passed, but there is plenty of time to register to vote in the general election in November. If you or a neighbor is not a registered voter in Travis County (applies if you have moved to your current home since the last election from another county and you have not registered to vote), you can get it taken care of a few different ways. Also, these apply if you moved from elsewhere in Travis County and want to update your registration to reflect your current legal residence:
- The Wells Branch Library has voter registration cards at the front desk.
- You can pick up a voter registration card at the DMV or driver’s license office. Some grocery stores have them at the customer service desks. You can also get one (and fill it out there and mail it!) at the post office.
- Either of the political party headquarters in Travis County can help you out. Contact http://www.traviscountydemocrats.org/ or http://www.traviscountygop.org
- A few of your neighbors are also Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrars and can get you registered. I’m one; contact me at email@example.com.
3 – Election Precincts and Districts. You probably heard about redistricting on the news (indeed, it’s why our election calendar is so complicated); Wells Branch was affected by some of the changes. The major change is that precincts 215, 216, 217, 225, and 229 are all now in Congressional District 17, and we have a different congressman (Congressman Bill Flores) and will be voting in a new race than we have in past years. Those who live just over the Williamson County line (that’s WilCo precinct 138) are still in Congressional District 5 (Congressman John Carter). All of our other election districts remained the same as they were in previous years.
4 – Upcoming Democratic and Republican Primaries. Texas has an open primary system, which means you do not have to “register” in a specific party in order to vote in their primary. You can only vote in one primary election in a given cycle, but you are not bound to vote in the same primary that you may have chosen in 2010. You can find out who is on the Travis County Democratic ballot here: http://www.traviscountydemocrats.org/2012-primary-candidates/ and the Travis County Republican ballot here: http://www.traviscountygop.org/2012-candidates.html. Both of the sites above have links to most of the candidates’ websites. As promised, here are candidate/race lists that apply to the Wells Branch Travis County precincts. For the Williamson County voters who live in Wells Branch, you can enter in your name and find a customized sample ballot here: http://apps.wilco.org/elections/default2.aspx. Click on these links to download SAMPLE PRIMARY BALLOTS for Travis County: Democratic Party or Republican Party. Early voting ends May 25. Both the Democratic and Republican primaries will take place on Tuesday, May 29.
– Upcoming Precinct Chair Elections: The election for the office of precinct chair will be held concurrently with the July 31st, 2012 runoff, with a plurality vote required for election. Candidates for precinct chair may file, amend, or withdraw their application for a place on the ballot no later than 6:00 p.m., June 1, 2012. I’ve listed the current chairs by precinct number below. Also, here is the relevant information from both parties about becoming and being a precinct chairman (Travis County): http://www.traviscountydemocrats.org/get-involved/become-a-precinct-chair/ and http://www.traviscountygop.org/get-involved/be-a-precinct-chair.html
Republican: Mary Petronis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Democratic: Patricia Budak: email@example.com
Republican: Joe Pojman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Republican: Randy Samuelson: email@example.com
Williamson County Pct 138:
BECOME A VOLUNTEER DEPUTY VOTER REGISTRAR FOR TRAVIS COUNTY! JUNE TRAINING DATES ANNOUNCED.
How can you become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar (VDR)?
Volunteers must be 18 years or older and attend a one-hour training session where they learn about the qualifications to become a VDR and how to register voters. Regularly scheduled training is held on the first Tuesday of each month. To request a training session for your organization, call (512) 854-9473.
The next training sessions will be held on Tuesday, June 5th at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 6:30 pm (each session is approximately one hour long) at the Travis County Voter Registrar located at 5501 Airport Boulevard, Austin, TX 78751.
Email WBNA at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in carpooling or setting up a training session for Wells Branch.