Dallas College has launched Dallas College Votes, a virtual voter initiative campaign, to educate voters and encourage them to make their voices heard at the polls.
“The Dallas College Votes campaign is centered on three simple steps: register, research and rally to the vote,” Martha Fernandez, Dallas College senior manager of public and governmental affairs, said during the Dallas College Votes virtual event.
The 2020 election comes amid a whirlwind of social issues. Americans are living in a social climate where some people of color live in fear of those who are supposed to protect and serve.
“We have to fight for our democracy because our democracy is being threatened,” Dolores Huerta, a civil rights activist, said. “We have to take those protests and all of those marches to the ballot box because that is the way that we make the permanent changes that we need.”
Huerta spoke to students, staff and faculty during a Dallas College Votes virtual event hosted by Dallas College Office of Student Life on Sept. 24 through WebEx.
During the 2016 election, the top 10 counties with the largest voting-age populations in Texas had voting turnouts as low as 28%, according to The Texas Tribune.
“Election Day is the most important date of your life besides the day that you were born because this is the day that people are elected and they will make decisions for you, for your family and for your community,” Huerta said.
“It is time for us to make that change, ” Liliana Cruz, Dallas College Brookhaven Campus Student Government Association vice president, said. “We do have all the resources. It is just a matter of moving forward and doing that.”
KNOWING THE DATES
The early voting period runs from Oct. 13-30. The last day to request a mail-in ballot is Oct. 23. Election day is Nov. 3. Mail-in ballots need to be delivered to local election officials by 5 p.m. on Nov. 4 to be counted.
REGISTERING TO VOTE
Voters can verify if they are registered by visiting the Am I Registered to Vote? website. To verify registration, you will need a Texas identification card number, driver’s license number or name and residential county, along with the voter’s date of birth is all that is needed .
All Dallas College campuses have voter’s registration cards in publicly accessible areas. The registration cards are in white boxes near Dallas College polling locations.
According to the Dallas County Election Department, applications can be mailed to Dallas County Voter Registration Department 1520 Round Table Drive, Dallas, Texas 75247. Voters who opt to hand deliver their applications can them drop off at a vote application drop box. Applications are also accepted by fax to 214-819-6301.
Social media websites such as Instagram and Facebook have integrated links on their home pages to direct eligible voters to register.
FINDING A POLLING LOCATION
Voters can visit the Am I Registered to Vote? site once their registration is completed to find polling locations. Voters will need to enter the same information that was needed to verify if they were registered. Once confirmed as registered, voters can find polling locations. Early voting locations will also be included in the search.
Dallas County allows for voting at any polling location.
Dallas College campuses will serve as polling locations Nov. 3, according to the Dallas College Votes website and exact voting locations for each campus are as follows:
Brookhaven Campus, W Building, Room W105, 3939 Valley View Lane, Farmers Branch 75244
Cedar Valley Campus, M Building, Room M105, 3030 N. Dallas Ave., Lancaster 75134
Eastfield Campus, S Building, Rooms S100/101, 3737 Motley Drive, Mesquite 75150
Pleasant Grove Center (formerly Eastfield Pleasant Grove Campus), Community Rooms 108/109, 802 S. Buckner Blvd., Dallas 75217
El Centro Campus, Student Center, 801 Main St., Dallas 75202
West Dallas Center (formerly El Centro West Campus), Rooms 141-142, 3330 N. Hampton Road, Dallas 75212
Mountain View Campus, E Building Main Lobby, 4849 W. Illinois Ave., Dallas 75211
North Lake Campus, L Building Community Library, 5001 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving 75038
Garland Center (formerly Richland Garland Campus), Main Lobby, 675 W. Walnut St., Garland 75040
Richland Campus, Guadalupe (G) Building Foyer Area, 12800 Abrams Road, Dallas 75243
Additionally, the American Airlines Center will be a voting megacenter in Dallas County on Nov. 3. The capacity of this venue will allow for 50 people to safely vote at time, according to a Fox 4 News.
OBTAINING MAIL-IN BALLOTS
Mail-in ballot voting is available for citizens 65 years of age or older, those out of the country during the entire election period including early voting, or citizens disabled or confined to jail but eligible to vote, according to the Dallas County Votes organization website.
According to the Dallas County Elections Department Mail-in ballots can be requested by printing and filling out this form. Applications need to be mailed to Toni Pippins-Poole – Early Voting Clerk Dallas County Elections 1520 Round Table Drive Dallas, Texas 75247 or they can be faxed to 214-816-6303.
RESEARCHING AND VOTING
Ballot previews and candidate information can be found at Vote411.org. Dallas College Votes has provided a list of resources to equip voters on how to make an informed decision Nov. 3.
“We can be the deciders, we can be the referees, we can decide who is going to be a senator, who is going to be the president and the vice president of the United States of America,” Huerta said. “We have the power. Now we just have to use it.”