Thank you for your interest in civic engagement. We hope you’ll take what you learn here and spread the word to your friends and family!
TX Votes Event on April 20th @ 7 - 8 PM
“Working in Civic Tech”
You don’t have to be a government major or study liberal arts to have a career in public service, civics, and politics. You could major in engineering, business, or chemistry and still work in the public sector!
This event will feature 3 guest speakers, Kate McArdle, Sheena Bryant, and Zohaib Qadri, who have experience working in civic tech. We’ll hear lightning talks from each of the speakers, and after the individual talks, we’ll have an open Q&A session for the audience to interact with our speakers! You won’t want to miss this event!
May 1st Special Election
Austin has a special election on May 1st! Here are the ballot propositions that will be voted on.
*Your County’s Election Office Must Receive Your Absentee Ballot TODAY*
Special Election Timeline
Monday, April 19, 2021 - First Day of Early Voting
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - Last Day for County to Receive Absentee Ballot Application (RECEIVED, not Postmarked)
Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - Last Day of Early Voting
Saturday, May 1, 2021 - Election Day
Saturday, May 1, 2021 - Last Day for County to Receive Ballot by Mail (by 7 pm)
Voting Information and Resources
Voting guide made by the LBJ Graduate Public Affairs Council: Use this guide to check if you’re registered to vote, apply for an absentee ballot (if you’re eligible), and learn more about the ballot propositions that will be voted on in this special election!
Mail Your Absentee Ballot Application to Your County’s Election Office [find the address here]
Find the Closest Polling Location Near You
View Your Personalized Ballot: vote411.org
Volunteering as Civic Engagement
Our civics article for this newsletter is about volunteering and how to be involved in your community!
By Krista Gehlhausen (TX Votes’ Program Coordinator)
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote everyday about the kind of community you want to live in.” - Author Unknown
Hearing this quote recently, I thought about how crucial volunteering is to a thriving community, especially in the past year when, in Texas, we’ve experienced a pandemic and a winter storm. Community networks, mutual aid, and volunteerism have all helped during trying times in 2020 and 2021.
It can be difficult to know how to help others during a challenging time. Many individuals, including myself, were avid volunteers pre-COVID but then were at a loss as to how to stay engaged. It’s been difficult for everyone to balance taking care of themselves, helping others, and keeping a safe distance.
When we volunteer, we take an active role in solving problems our community faces. We are then able to reflect on the deeper causes behind the issues we temporarily alleviate, such as volunteering to distribute food to those experiencing hunger. As students interested in policy and political work, volunteering helps us learn more about the communities we hope to serve and build relationships. Additionally, volunteering can help remedy feelings of helplessness when tragedies arise within our city.
As more people get vaccinated, it’s getting safer to volunteer in person again. If you’re not ready to go out yet, there are also lots of ways to still get involved without leaving your home! Make sure to still mask up and social distance in order to volunteer safely - this protects you and anyone you’re serving!
How to Get Civically Engaged Through Volunteering
City of Austin’s How to Help GivePulse: Help out areas of your community still being affected by COVID-19!
The LBJ School of Public Affairs’ GPAC Community Engagement Committee has also created this guide to volunteer opportunities in the Austin area.
You can also participate in hyper local giving by joining your neighborhood’s Buy Nothing group on Facebook - you never know if you have something that someone else may need (food, clothes, miscellaneous household items). When was the last time you did a favor for a neighbor?
Here are some interesting articles and news stories we found over the last two weeks! TX Votes is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to providing voting and civic engagement information, and our only goal with this section of our newsletter is to share a few interesting articles and news about Texas and its politics! We encourage you to read multiple sources and a variety of viewpoints to ensure you are well informed.
Visit our website at tx-votes.com.
If you would like to support TX Votes and the civic engagement work we do, you can donate here! Thank you!