Political Awareness & Involvement
The COVID-19 pandemic was poised to hamper voter turnout in the 2020 election. Citizens across the country grappled with their desires to vote while also guarding their health. In an effort to protect our sisters and our community while also exercising the power in our vote, Houston Alumnae Chapter (HAC) instituted an Early Voting Campaign aimed at increasing the early voting turnout in the November 2020 election.
Beginning on September 17, the Social Action committee conducted a series of informational sessions to assist eligible sorors with locating, completing and submitting applications to vote by mail. HAC’s social media platforms were used to arm the community with needed information and links to resources that could be shared with family, friends and neighbors who were eligible to vote by mail and to encourage early voting. HAC partnered with Houston Elections Group and The League of Women Voters to reach vulnerable populations and provide virtual voter guides.
On October 5, HAC hosted County Clerk, Chris Hollins in a virtual Town Hall dubbed, “A Conversation with the County Clerk.” This Town Hall was organized to provide detailed voter information and clarify the many ways voters could cast ballots during the early voting period. 110 chapter members and residents participated in this town hall. Clerk Hollins provided a plethora of early voting information including mail-in ballot procedures, drive-through and curbside voting availability, 24-hour voting days and polling place logistics. He graciously addressed all audience questions and joined the push to encourage mobilization during the early voting period. The entire community expressed gratitude for the many innovative ways that Clerk Hollins made voting safe and accessible for all.
The final piece to this effort was galvanizing sorors to serve as Captains for our Early Voting Caravans to the polls. Beginning on October 13, the first day of the early voting period, individual sorors organized and led early voting caravans in their respective neighborhoods. A total of twelve caravans commenced in local neighborhoods throughout the greater Houston area. Some rolled during the week while others were scheduled for the two Saturdays in October that fell within the early voting period. Sorors who could not join a caravan were encouraged to vote early when convenient for them.
To assess the impact of the Early Voting Campaign, HAC conducted a post-election survey of the 240 chapter members in attendance at the November 6 chapter meeting. 84% responded that they had voted in-person during the early voting period, exceeding the 76% reported for Harris County. 15% responded that they had voted using mail-in ballots during the early voting period, and that exceeds the 10% reported for the county. Only 1% responded that they had voted in-person on Election Day, considerably less than the 12% reported by Harris County. Overall, the HAC Early Voting Campaign proved that neither misinformation, disinformation, nor a pandemic would prevent Deltas from voting and carrying forth the social activism torch ignited by the bravery and fortitude of the twenty-two women upon whose shoulders we stand.