By Lisa Epstein, JFSA Jewish Community Relations Council Director
The Community Relations Council of San Antonio’s Voting Rights Committee has been working on studying issues of voting rights in Texas. Due to the pandemic, voting has become a challenging issue. Although voting by mail is a good solution, in Texas, voting by mail is reserved for those out of town during the election, those in prison, people over age 65, or people with disabilities. Voting by mail in Texas is also an unnecessarily complicated process, involving several steps including requesting an application to vote by mail, filling it out, mailing it back (with postage) to the county voting commissioner, waiting for your ballot to be mailed to you, then filling out the ballot and mailing it back (with postage). Additionally, those who are eligible might not even be aware that they can vote by mail or how to go about getting the necessary forms.
In order to solve these challenges, three organizations, the CRC, San Antonio Jewish Senior Services (SAJSS) and the National Council of Jewish Women teamed up to educate our community about voting by mail. This included mailing 650 vote by mail applications directly to seniors on the SAJSS mailing list. The volunteers also reached out to their local synagogues and the Jewish Federation, all of whom shared the vote by mail information in their e-blasts. The project was a big success, and many seniors were able to vote by mail during the July run-off election. This allowed them to participate in the election without having to go to the polls during this pandemic. It also lessened the crowding at the polling places for those who could not vote by mail.
A big thank you to the generous support of the Lackritz Fund, Barbara Baruch and Hannah Margolis who sponsored the printing and postage for this project, and to the volunteers and agencies who participated. The committee will continue to work on voting rights to enable as many people to vote in the November election as possible.
In order to vote by mail in the November election, CLICK HERE to access the vote by mail ballot request form.