Our Election Protection Work was a Success this 2022 Midterm Election
My name is Emily Eby, and I am the Senior Election Protection Attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project. I’ve worked on Election Protection at TCRP for three elections now, and I am always amazed at the way our team adapts to meet every challenge and protect voters at every turn. I’m excited to share just a few of our Election Protection successes from the 2022 Midterm Election!
Our Election Protection campaign works to help every eligible Texas voter cast a ballot that counts by overcoming the countless hurdles that the state makes them jump to get there . During Early Voting and on Election Day, we help run the non-partisan 866-OUR-VOTE hotline to support voters, and we have volunteers on the ground ready to assist voters at polling locations across Texas. In the 2022 Midterm Election, 8,077,770 registered Texans voted. More than 3,308,000 of those voters cast their ballots on Election Day, and our volunteer force was up to the challenge.
The hotline responded to 3,151 calls from voters this year. 2,432 of those were basic requests for information about how, where, or when to vote. These questions always make up the bulk of the hotline’s work, because every county in Texas has different hours, machines, and polling locations. We got 381 calls reporting problems with voter registration, 252 calls to report issues with mail-in ballots, 200 calls about polling place access, 187 calls about electioneering or intimidation, and 144 about polling place technology.
On Election Day alone, we received 914 calls across the state. The issues we got the most calls about were Voter ID/Registration (143), Polling Place Access (129), Polling Place Technology (85), and Electioneering or Intimidation (68). On Election Day, the areas we received the most calls from were Harris County (221), Dallas County (94), Travis County (83), Tarrant County (51), Bexar County (50), and Fort Bend County (32).
You may be thinking: “So many context-less numbers! What does all of this data mean in context?” Don’t worry! We’re currently working on our post-election reports to give you a better picture of what we saw in 2022, why we think it happened, and how Texas can keep it from happening again.
Our legal volunteer force this year was stronger than ever. We trained 418 legal volunteers on Texas Election Protection this year. Of those, 401 volunteers showed up to serve over 1,137 shifts during Early Voting and on Election Day. That’s more than 4,550 hours of Election Protection work for Texas voters!
Here are just a few of the things we saw and did on Election Day:
First thing in the morning in Harris County, we received a high number of reports of polling places that weren’t open on time. Reported delays ranged from 30 minutes to three hours. We joined with the ACLU of Texas to represent the Texas Organizing Project in a lawsuit to keep Harris County polling locations open in the evening to make up for the delay. A Harris County District Court judge ruled in our favor. All Harris County voters who were in line by 7:00 PM got to cast a regular ballot, and many who were in line after were able to cast a provisional ballot as required by law. Around 8:00 PM, the Texas Supreme Court stayed the District Court’s decision, and Harris County thereby halted voting. Harris County is counting the ballots cast by voters who got in line between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
Bell County (an area just north of Austin that includes the city of Killeen) also had machine issues that caused delayed openings. A state district judge ordered those polling places to stay open an extra hour.
Students at Prairie View A&M in Waller County called the hotline to report that they had been turned away without the opportunity to vote provisionally. According to the county, they had run out of provisional ballots. Our volunteers connected with Waller County and ensured that more provisional ballots would be delivered to the Memorial Student Center location so that the students of one of America’s oldest HBCUs were able to vote.
Keep watching for our team’s legislative work, as well as further reports on the 2022 midterm. Our Election Protection team is proud to have served Texas voters this midterm election and we are dedicating to continuing this work to ensure that all Texans can cast a ballot that counts in future elections!