Thursday, March 3, 2016

#RealTalk: The Inconvenient Truth About Early Voting

There has been lot of talk about the high turnout on election day here in Houston, TX and Harris County. There is a lot to be said about voting early and how it saves us time as an alternative to long lines on election day. The inconvenient truth is that it IS a privilege to early vote, IF YOU CAN. The rules aren't as stringent during early voting because you don't have to vote in your precinct during this period of time. 

The first week of early voting is a sham for people working minimum wage jobs and using public transit. Most of us are working during the early voting hours prescribed by the state of Texas. Which means that for the first four days of early voting, by the time we clock out and get on the bus to head out, polls have closed for the day (8a - 4:30p). 

WHO DOES THIS AFFECT???

It affects Black, Latino and other racial minorities who are actually the majority in this city.  Think about the fact that we only get one weekend to vote and it is attached to the first week of early voting (later hours of course) and that is also problematic. One weekend, and on any given weekend people are working until at least 9p at malls, restaurants, hotels and etc. That was just Saturday that I referred to, Sunday is way more interesting because it's when the traditional souls to the polls happens. It is obvious that many folks don't get time off from work to even attend a Christian church or whatever their religious subscriptions are subject to the same type of work schedule as Saturday.


The second week is a bit easier to navigate if you work or live close to one of the early voting locations. It is Monday through Friday (7a - 7p), better hours yes, helpful no. The same rules apply here and it is hard to get time off or even fore go responsibilities just go vote early while some of us can take this privilege for granted. For goodness sake, I want people to be mindful of their words when they say that: "if you want to avoid long lines on election day, vote early."