On Friday, April 27, Houston begrudgingly welcomed Tea Party members that hosted the True the Vote Summit, a conference dedicated to implementing voter id laws that suppress many Americans rights to vote. Our coalition, Not in My Houston, milling out front of the Sheraton Brookhollow hotel grew by the hour. The conversations taking place on the inside focused on “cleaning up voter rolls” and ensuring “fair and free elections.” Those neatly packaged slogans sound wonderful and hint towards a love of freedom and democracy; but the reality is, Voter ID laws will do nothing to improve the integrity within the voting process. In fact, voter fraud is not as rampant as Tea Party members would have you believe.
These new adamantly proclaimed “fair and free” elections would disenfranchise minority communities, the elderly and voting age college students. New York Universities’ Brennan Center even noted that, “allegations of voter fraud simply do not pan out and distract from real [election] problems that need real solutions.
It is for that reason and many more, Good Jobs Great Houston along with community allies and activists came together for three days of action. Finishing it all off with the much anticipated human chain of solidarity and prayer vigil- which surrounded the front of the Sheraton Hotel at the beginning of the summit. Walking hand in hand activists”greeted” Tea Party guests in complete silence with nothing but hand painted signs hanging around their necks and duct tape over their mouths; in an effort to highlight the destructive nature of Voter ID laws. Our message: Voter ID laws silences the people!
As five o’clock rolled right around, the crowd continued watching the vigil until registration officially opened. You can bet our actions stuck in the minds of attendees. For while the mingling and greeting continued inside the conversations began switching from “voter fraud” to, “did you see those protestors outside!” Of course they did! We were united and we were STRONG!