DENTON, TX – (August 15, 2018) The St. James A.M.E. Church partners with the Martin Luther King Jr. Advisory Board to present the Vote 2018 Town Hall. It will be held Thursday, September 20, 2018, from 7-9 p.m., at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, located at 1300 Wilson in Denton. This forum wants to ensure that eligible voters are informed about the changes in the Texas voting laws, and that they are able to cast their votes in the November 6 Election.
The forum plans to answer questions about the voter ID laws, documents required for voting, election protection, voter suppression and redistricting. Individuals can register to vote and make address and name changes in our onsite Voter Registration Drive.
The guest speakers are Texas State Senator Royce West of Dallas and National Voting Rights Coordinator Justin Kwasa of the Washington, DC-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Mr. Kwasa will speak about the obstacles to voting rights in Texas while Senator Royce offers a message to prepare citizens for the midterm elections.
Emily Meisner of Denton Vote Group will explain the voting requirements. Participants can ask questions to an expert panel, which includes: Johnnie Berkley, Texas Department of Public Safety; Bob Lydia, Texas NAACP; Willie Hudspeth, Denton County Branch NAACP; Lillian Adams, LULAC; Christina Adkins, Texas Secretary of State; Sharon Watkins Jones, ACLU of Texas; Courtney Cross, League of Women Voters of Denton; and Paula Paschal, Denton County Elections.
Who should attend? All unregistered voters; those who need photo IDs; 18-24 year-olds; college students; ex-offenders; senior citizens; uninformed voters; and anyone interested in the new voting laws.
According to a University of Houston (April 10, 2017) study, there is “widespread confusion about the state’s identification rules” ahead of the elections. And such misunderstandings may keep some eligible voters from showing up to the polls. Prior to the 2016 elections, “the requirements were replaced after a federal appeals court ruled that Texas’ strict 2011 ID law discriminated against minority voters.” Since then, there have been some other rulings related to the law. In June, the Supreme Court decision ruled that states could purge voters for failure to vote in two consecutive federal elections, which will greatly disenfranchise minorities, veterans, and low-income and disabled people. Therefore, many Texans still do not have a good understanding of the rules and other changes that might affect their ability to cast a ballot in the upcoming elections. In view of the recent purge law, every voter should check with their local election offices to ensure they are registered vote.
“Our democracy thrives when people are prepared and have the right information to exercise fully their civic duty,” said Pastor Mason Rice, Jr. of St. James A.M.E. Church. “We are committed to moral and social issues including voting rights, and these can be best accomplished through education. We need to vote and to stay informed about leaders who will make laws and policy that affect our faith, our families and our freedom.” He added, “This voters’ education forum is free to the public, and everyone is invited to attend.”
The sponsors of this town hall include: NAACP, League of Women Voters of Denton, Denton Vote Group, and University of North Texas Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Zeta Beta Chapter.
St. James A.M.E. Church is celebrating its 143rd year of serving the Denton community. In 1985, it was designated as an historical landmark.