"Can" Do Attitude on Display at Central Texas Food Bank
On February 25, twenty of our fellow Blue Action Dems met at the Central Texas Food Bank to volunteer to help feed hungry Texans. With no training and minimal instruction, our team assembled 115 healthy Power Pack boxes in 20 minutes flat!
And that just whet our appetites. Next came the true test of endurance. We took our positions on both sides of a conveyor belt, and during the next 100 minutes, assembled hundreds of emergency food boxes. When needed, these boxes will be promptly shipped to communities who have experienced an emergency and are in desperate need of relief.
I’m proud to report that our efforts were instrumental in generating 3,729 meals! Our kids also rolled their sleeves up – notable was seven year old Willow Brown (Carrie’s daughter), who filled boxes for two solid hours with not so much as a water break – I can’t say the same about my 17 year-old .
Bottom line is that we had a great time and made a difference for our community, all in the spirit of GSD!
Blue Action Dems will continue to support our community through the newly minted Social and Service Committee, which will plan and execute three more volunteer events and two social events throughout 2019. A plan is currently in the works for an outdoor, family-friendly volunteer event to be held in April/May timeframe and a happy hour in June. If you get excited about volunteering and socializing, please stay tuned for these events and even consider joining our committee!
BAD SSC Chair
There's no doubt we all worked really hard this year to get more voters to the polls in the 14 precincts that made up the Blue Action Dems Super Precinct. (Precincts 301, 302, 303, 339, 344, 350, 351, 352, 354, 356, 357, 362, 363, 366) The precincts were assigned to our group by the Travis County Coordinated Campaign. Even though we assisted with turfs in other precincts, the results that follow are based on these 14 Southwest Austin precincts.
Our goal for these 14 precincts was to capture 80% of the votes Hillary Clinton earned in 2016. (That's represented in the green bar in the chart below). Blue Action Dem precincts actually exceeded Clinton's vote total by about 2,400 votes. Not only did we meet our goal, we were 28% beyond it!
The other goal we had was to increase turnout in a mid-term election. We wanted to increase voter participation, especially among the "sometimes" Democratic voter. Blue Action precincts averaged about a 20% increase in voter turnout this year, compared to the last midterm in 2014. Overall our turnout was stronger than Travis County as a whole.
Voter Turnout 2018
There were seven Blue Action precincts in Congressional District 21, where Democrat Joseph Kopser came within 9,000 votes of defeating Republican Chip Roy.
The chart below shows how we grew the vote in those precincts over the Democratic candidate in 2016, which was a presidential year.
In Congressional District 25, we're also comparing data from 2016. Look at how the number of votes in Blue Action precincts grew -- even when compared with a presidential year election! Williams vote total went down, which tells you our area is growing bluer.
Even though our turnout numbers in Travis were amazing, Republican turnout state-wide was also very strong in the rural areas, putting victory just out of reach in this seat.
There were just two Blue Action precincts in HD-47, which makes the gains here even more remarkable. Again, comparing 2016 (a presidential election year)to this year's results, not only did Vikki Goodwin grow the vote total for Democrats, she earned 900 votes more than Paul Workman in these two precincts. She won the seat by 4900 votes, so these two precincts definitely contributed to the winning margin!
We knew it was important for Steve Kling to get as many votes in Travis County as possible to be competitive in SD-25 due to gerrymandering. Blue Action had seven precincts in SD-25 and grew the vote total by more than 1,000 votes. Note that we're comparing the last midterm election in 2014 to this year's election. Senate seats are up for re-election every 4 years.
There's no sugar coating the fact that we only flipped one of the four seats we were targeting. Gerrymandering proved to be a serious head wind and with Republican turnout was also stronger than the previous midterm, we came up short.
However, in both TX-21 and TX-25, the margin was much, much closer. For example, Joseph Kopser cut his opponent's margin of victory to just 9,893 votes from Lamar Smith's margin of 73,202 in 2016. That's an astounding improvement. In TX-25, Julie Oliver cut the margin from 63,915 in 2016 to 27,000 votes in 2018. Williams got 18,000 fewer votes this year compared 2016.
When you compare our precinct results to our goal of increasing voter turnout among Democrats, we hit it out of the park - even when compared the last presidential election.
What we thought was a lofty goal of getting 80% of the Clinton vote in a midterm election was quickly achieved (we very close to it in just the early vote numbers in our precincts). Election Day produced another surge, which overwhelmed polling locations and pushed our numbers even higher.
What we've built - what we've achieved with our collective efforts - is a turnout machine for 2020. We know how to do this. We're trained and ready to share our knowledge with others. We can share our lessons with other communities, while continuing to keep our neighbors and friends engaged.
Tell us what you think about your experience in our post-election survey. Then, make sure you become a member of Blue Action Dems to help us continue our work.
Blue Action Dems Board
I want to share with you how energizing my Saturday morning was.
Blue Action Democrats President, Carrie Collier-Brown and I joined about 25 other people block walking for Joseph Kopser, who's running for Congress in TX-21 and Steve Kling, who's running for Texas State Senate.
Carrie and I completed a list of about 50 houses south of William Cannon near Escarpment, working together at first and then splitting up for a few blocks. You might have seen our Facebook live.
One of our first houses was a woman who didn't realize how many Democrats were active in her neighborhood and is planning on attending one of our meetings. We met folks who were excited to vote and others who didn't know there was an election coming up! And even one member of Blue Action! #GSD
But the most amazing moments were the doors we knocked where lifelong Republicans told us they were voting Democrat for the first time in their lives. We heard others say that our visit convinced them to vote for Kopser and Kling.
We were able to talk about important issues like rising property taxes, education funding, and reducing the chaos in Washington.
There are signs that the blue wave is building. But we need your help to make it happen. Each person we reach could cast a decisive vote in November.
Will you join me for a block walk in Southwest Austin?
If you're not ready to step out on your own, you can opt to be a block walk assistant, where you'll be paired with someone experienced.
If you can't walk at all, consider a donation or become a member. All the money we raise goes to get stuff done before November!
Thank you! See you soon,
Communications Chair, Blue Action Democrats
Do you have a child or neighbor who is attending college but wants to vote in Travis County this fall?
To receive a mail-in ballot, they must be registered to vote in Travis County.
1. Download the form
2. Fill out the form.
Under Section 5, select "absence from the county" during election, be sure you complete section 6B, 7, and 8.
Pro Tip: Section 2 is your registered address in Travis County (your home address), Section 3 is your college mailing address.
3. Be sure to sign the form in Section 10. Make sure it's legible.
4. You must mail the form to: Early Voting Clerk, DANA DEBEAUVOIR PO BOX 149325 AUSTIN, TX 78714-9325. The form must be received by October 26. Don't wait!
5. You will be mailed an absentee ballot in October. You must complete and SIGN the ballot. It should be mailed back to the Travis County Clerk and received by November 7.
Pro Tip: The ballot must be signed and received by 11/7 in order to count! Mail it by Halloween!
6. Remind your student that all these hoops are in place to make sure they DON'T vote, maybe that will make them mad enough to mail the form.
- Register2vote.org -- If you want to vote in person at college, you must register at your college address. This site helps you complete the registration form, but you must sign it and mail it back in order to be registered. Deadline is October 9. Don't delay!
-- Not sure you're registered? Click here to verify your voter registration.
-- Instructions on voting in Texas for college students. Step-by-step guide to vote, including dates and deadlines.
You’ve heard “Texas isn’t a red state it’s a nonvoting state."
This means a lot of Democrats aren’t bothering to vote even though many of them are actually already registered!
Our Blue Action Democrats GOTV (get out the vote) strategy for November is to turn Democrats out at a higher rate than Republicans.
We have a chance to do that because typically, turnout in non-presidential elections are lower overall. However, if Democrats in Texas can turn out in the levels we saw for Hillary Clinton, then we can flip several districts in Southwest Travis County.
This will help us build that blue wave. To get our blue wave to crest, we need to root out more Dems and get them to VOTE.
These Dems are out there and some are folks we know – let’s find them and make them promise to vote.
Work Your Circles is a simple 3-step concept we all can do to ensure Dems we already know will vote. Take some time to think through all the circles of folks you know – your family, neighbors, co-workers, yoga class, church, book club, etc.
Now, who are the Dems? Write them down in the Work Your Circles Worksheet. Make a point to ask them 3 questions:
Rise Up Texas! Work Your Circles. Get everyone you know to PROMISE to VOTE!
Let’s talk about how important it is that we Dems stick together to achieve our long-term goal of big wins in November. We are blessed with so many great Democratic candidates for the March Primary.
Some will win and some of us will experience the loss of a favored candidate. That happens, and it stings, but we all need to remember that this is how the process works. Then, we unite and work together like hell to turn Texas blue.
Remember, we Dems share the same goals – not the least of which is saving our country.
We all believe in fairness and justice for all, opportunities for all, good health for all, a clean and sustainable environment for all, education for all, and sensible gun control.
Also, HUGE props to all of our candidates who are working so tirelessly on our behalf. We look forward to supporting them in future races - they are now experienced and beloved!
Senator Kirk Watson will be talking about the importance of a united party at our next meeting, this Sunday, March 4 at 2pm at Mandola's (near Costco). And don't forget your phone or your bling! We're glamming it up just in time for Election Day!
Blue Action Democrats
Precinct Chair, 354
It's not too late to be part of the #BlueWave.
Early voting started strong with more than 5,300 Travis County Democrats showing up at the polls on the first day. We more than doubled our showing from the last mid-term election in 2014!
Day two numbers revealed a building trend. According to Bruce Elfant, Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar, early voting in Travis County looks more like a presidential year than a gubernatorial year. And it's happening all over the state, Democrats are turning out.
Early voting stats from Travis County, through Day 2 of Early Voting.
In 2018, we're fired up. We’re fired up about telling the Government who we want to represent us. I can confidently say that we’re letting our representatives know with gusto.
For those of you who haven’t voted just yet, don’t worry. There is still time to vote and we need you to keep building this #BlueWave. Early voting continues until Texas Independence Day (March 2nd) and on Election Day (March 6th). Polls are open this weekend, too.
Don’t know who to vote for? We got you covered. Click on the “primary” link at the top of this website. On that page, you’ll find links to the Southwest Austin candidates’ websites. Or, download a cheat sheet of all of the contested races in our area. Fill it out and take it to the polls with you. (Phones are prohibited by state law in the voting booth.)
You can do this. Build the wave. Go and vote, whether it be February 26th, March 2nd, or some day in between. Here's a list of early voting locations. Then, go ahead and post a selfie of your BAD self with your sticker and tag us @BlueActionDems.
Margaret Chen Kercher
V-P, Blue Action Democrats
5 Questions about Voting in the Primary
What should I expect when I check in at the polls during the Joint Primary Election?
When you go to the polls during the primary elections, you will be asked which party’s primary you would like to participate in. You have two options. Choose Democratic (or Republican, but we’re all Democrats here!) Your ballot will ONLY show the Democratic races that you are eligible to vote in (no Republican races.) Parties other than the two major ones might have candidates on the ballot in the November general election, but they have their own processes to choose their candidates.
Should I bring my Voter Registration Certificate to the primary?
If you show your postcard-sized Voter Registration Certificate at the polls during the primary, it may be stamped with your party affiliation. If you attend a county or state Democratic convention, this certificate is proof that you voted in the Democratic primary. (Your name will also be on a list of all voters who participated in the Democratic primary statewide.)
Pro tip: bringing your unexpired Voter Registration Certificate to the polls is always a good idea. Although you cannot currently use it as a primary form of ID to vote, it proves that you are registered and eligible to vote, in case a question about your eligibility were to come up. It has your unique VUID number, which can be used to look you up in the database of registered voters. Bringing your Voter Registration Certificate to the polls can save you time.
How do primary runoff elections work?
Many of the Democratic races in central Texas have several candidates running in the primary. Since a candidate must receive more than 50% of the vote to advance to the general election in November, it is likely that some races will result in a runoff.
If you vote in the primary election, you must vote with the same party in the runoff election. No switching parties! There will be a record of which ballot you received in the joint primary election at the primary runoff election, and you will automatically get the ballot for that party again. You do not have to vote in the Joint Primary Election to vote in the runoff election. Mark your calendar: Primary Runoff Election Day is May 22.
How will my General Election ballot in November be different from my Joint Primary Election ballot in March?
In a general election in November, your ballot will reflect all the candidates from all parties in all the races you are eligible to vote in. (General elections also sometimes have tax propositions, state constitutional amendment questions, and other matters for voter consideration besides races for public office.)
How can I learn about the Democratic candidates in the Joint Primary Election?
All candidates have websites and a social media presence (like on Facebook and Twitter.) You can find out online about events where a candidate will appear, and go to those events to talk to the candidate and their supporters. (Our Primary Page has a list of those websites.)
Sometimes organizations hold candidate forums for specific races, where you can see all or most of the candidates at the same event. Some Democratic clubs have an endorsement process; you can check their websites and social media to find out what candidates they are supporting. The League of Women Voters Austin Area publishes a nonpartisan Voters Guide with questions they have asked of all candidates in every contested race. (This primary, you can find the Voters Guide at public library branches, or online at lwvaustin.org.)
Blue Action Democrats Member
Are you a Democrat who’s thinking of voting in the Republican primary?
It’s been said many times, but Texas is a non-voting state. When you consider that there are more non-voters who lean Democrat and combine them with actual Democratic voters, Republicans are a minority who’ve had an exclusive grip on political power in this state for nearly two decades.
How does this minority rule persist? By dividing the majority against itself. This happens when Democratic-leaning voters cross over to vote in the Republican primary. You’ve no doubt heard many people talk about doing this.
Here are four reasons why you should absolutely vote in the Democratic Primary.
1. Unicorns and Moderate Republicans
In an attempt to nominate a “less-worse” Republican, also called “block voting”, Democratic voters will cross over and vote for the more moderate Republican in the primary. By doing this, however, voters simply reinforce the perpetual grip of the far right. Look no further than far-right Tea Party members who have driven out moderate Republicans like Joe Straus and made Dan Patrick the most powerful politician in the state.
I desperately want two robust, sane political parties in Texas, but the Republican Party will never come back to sanity until they are more afraid to lose general elections to Democrats than they are of losing a Republican primary to a nutter. Why? Because the Republican Party in Texas will push even moderates rightward in order to win the Republican Primary.
Moderate Republicans are still going to vote with Republicans.
2. “But I won’t vote Republican in November…”
Some people rationalize their crossover vote in the Republican primary by saying they will vote for the Democrat in the November general election. But by then, it’s too late because crossing over to vote in the Republican primary makes it HARDER for Democrats to effectively compete in the general election.
That is because the best way to measure interest in an election is how many people vote in it. And interest drives momentum, which drives fundraising. “Block voting” artificially inflates Republican voting numbers, making it difficult for the Democratic nominee to build momentum and raise money.
3. Momentum Matters
A strong turnout in the Texas Democratic Primary on March 6th is essential to winning in November. A big showing in the primary will signal that this year really is different and that the #bluewave is building in Texas. Political science professor, Cal Jillson recently told the Houston Chronicle: “What the turnout looks like in the Texas primary will tell a lot about what lies ahead for Republicans and Democrats in 2018.”
What happens in March will set the narrative for Texas politics in 2018. The press and pundits are watching to see if the Blue Wave materializes.
This year is our best chance in a generation to elect more Democrats. There are great Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. And for the first time in 25 years, there are Democrats running in every single Congressional race in Texas, and nearly all of the Texas legislative races.
4. Open Primary Rules
Remember—an open primary in Texas means you cannot choose to vote for some Democrats and some some Republicans. You have to choose only the Democratic OR the Republican primary ballot. So crossing over to vote against Dan Patrick in the Republican primary will hurt all Democrats running in the many fiercely contested Democratic primary races.
If y’all really want to beat Dan Patrick and the rest of the Trump fan club in Texas, vote in the Texas Democratic Primary on March 6th to #buildthewave. And tell Independents and moderate Republicans fed up with their party to vote in the Democratic Primary, too.
That is how we bring political competition and SANITY back to the Lone Star State.
Now, sign up to block walk or join our next meeting on Feb 4 at 2pm at Mandola’s!
President, Blue Action Democrats
Thoughts from a Political Newbie
Last Sunday started out like any other - I woke up to the cat climbing on my face, the kids fought during breakfast, and everyone was “bored” by 9am. And then I remembered (with dread) that I was block walking for the very first time that afternoon.
What if I messed up what I was supposed to say? What if someone yelled at me? My nerves were out of control . . . and then I received a(nother) news alert on my phone containing the words “GOP” and I knew that my nerves were no match for what I needed to do.
So off I went, armed with my block walk packet, my 6’4” husband (so no one would yell at me) and our 10 year old daughter (so no one would yell at me).
And you know what? It was great!! People were kind and interested and excited that we were talking to Dems about voting. We heard quite a few colorful comments from neighbors about our current representatives and talked to some who didn’t even realize a primary was looming (it’s working!!). Everyone was excited to hear about Blue Action Dems and our plans for this election cycle and were even more excited to find out we will be hosting 15 candidates at our next meeting (February 4, 2-4pm at Mandola’s - shameless plug).
My husband even took his turn at the door and our daughter enjoyed carrying the clipboard and being an (un)official member of BAD. In the end, my anxiety and nerves were for nothing - it actually turned out to be a fun experience and I look forward to doing it again this weekend. Sign up here to join me.
So, don’t be afraid - we’ll do this together. Let’s Turn Texas Blue in 2018!!
BAD Secretary and political newbie