December 4, 2021
Dear Friend of the League,
As a supporter of the League of Women Voters Austin Area, you know how important voting is. But so many people in Central Texas don’t make it to the polls. Why is that?
“I don’t know how to register to vote.”
“I don’t know what’s on the ballot.”
“I have a lack of knowledge on government positions. I’ll be honest, I remember we covered all this back in school but that was a long time ago.”
These were the answers Paloma received in the Facebook group Votes for Vanessa when she asked why people in her community weren’t voting. Votes for Vanessa was created to rally Paloma’s community after the murder of Specialist Vanessa Guillen in Fort Hood, Texas. Paloma and many of her friends and family in the Latino community were looking for justice for Vanessa and for change.
Although many in her community went to the streets to protest, some of Paloma’s family members were immunocompromised. For Paloma, protesting during a pandemic wasn’t an option. She needed another way to amplify the voice of her community. Paloma knew that if members of her community voted in more elections then they could make sure they were represented.
But Paloma didn’t know what to do. She didn’t vote early in her life for many reasons. She didn’t have the time to vote. She didn’t want to wade through all the information out there to figure out how she wanted to vote. And she didn’t think local elections were all that important. Now, though, Paloma was inspired to make change in her community. She just needed someone to help her.
That’s where the League of Women Voters came in. In July of 2020, Paloma reached out to the Austin Area League for help. Time was of the essence: the November election was just around the corner and the voter registration deadline was in early October. Information on voting and the election needed to be available as soon as possible.
The League got to work right away and created a Civic Education series. In late August- less than two months after Paloma’s call- we presented the first topic on Voter Registration Information.
Paloma herself learned so much from this series. She attended many of the classes on topics such as voter registration information, researching your ballot, and the Austin bond elections. She also learned how to register others to vote. After taking the required training, she and others went out to ensure her community could vote in the November 2020 election, even registering some who had never voted in their lives.
The collaboration between Votes for Vanessa and the League of Women Voters Austin Area had cascading results. A whole new group of people became interested in the democratic process. The work Paloma did and the support the League provided has changed Paloma’s community for years to come.
This incredible story is one of the many examples of how your support makes a difference in the greater Austin area. Because of you, the League of Women Voters Austin Area helps citizens and organizations across central Texas to ensure that every citizen knows their rights and has access to the polls. But we can’t do it without you.
The League of Women Voters Austin Area is an all-volunteer organization. That means every dollar you give goes directly to the creation of the Voters Guide, to creating presentations like the Civic Engagement Series, to educating high schoolers on their right to vote, to registering voters at our local farmers’ markets, and so much more. You can give online or mail a check, whatever is best for you.
Thank you for your generosity. With your help, we will Empower Voters and Defend Democracy here in the Austin area in 2022.
President, League of Women Voters Austin Area
P.S.: If you’re at least 70 ½ or better, you can give up to $100,000 directly from your retirement account. By giving directly to LWV-AA, you are supporting the work you love and you won’t pay income taxes on the amount you donate. Best of all, this gift will count as your required minimum distribution if one is due (usually for those 72 or better). Please give today!