TXUUJM & UU the Vote
Post-Election Reflection from Sarah Berel-Harrop, TXUUJM Intern Minister and UU the Vote Organizer:
Dear Justice Seekers,
Y’all, we did a thing! As we move out of the election cycle and into the legislative session, let’s take the time to reflect on our accomplishments in this, our first year of UUing the Vote as a group.
I am so excited and happy for the work that we accomplished, that has both qualitative and quantitative aspects, and to share some of the down-ballot good news in Texas:
- At least 22 congregations did some kind of UU the Vote effort, including:
- 20,000 postcards or letters to voters (OR MORE)
- Thousands of phone calls
- In-person canvassing
- In collaboration with other state action networks and UU the Vote volunteers, texting 500,000 low-propensity Black Texas voters to remind them to vote.
- Volunteers mobilized during early voting and election day as poll workers, poll monitors, or giving rides to the polls.
- We engaged hundreds of congregational volunteers, with some people who leaned in to coordinate volunteers for the first time… Our work nurtured budding organizers!
- Three of the five municipalities in Texas that decriminalized marijuana were in TXUUJM’s focus counties. (We wrote postcards to Bell County and texted to Denton County).
- Through the efforts of a coalition including the San Marcos UU Fellowship and TXUUM partner organization Mano Amiga, San Marcos also passed a ballot measure decriminalizing marijuana.
- Voters in several focus counties for the texting and postcarding campaigns (Dallas, Tarrant, Fort Bend, and Bexar) elected one of the first openly gay Black men to serve in the Texas House, two of the first Muslims to serve in the Texas House, and likely the first Asian-American County Judge in Bexar County.
- Voters in Round Rock ISD rejected Christian Nationalism in their school board elections, and elected teachers to the school board.
Some reflections from our justice-seekers:
- At every phonebank I attended, there was always someone – frequently a person who entered the session unsure of whether phonebanking really was for them – who had a wonderful conversation with a voter and really felt the impact of helping the voter make a plan to vote.
- “I realized each postcard represents a person and I crafted my message with that person in mind.”
- “The in-person canvassing was really fun, and I didn’t expect that.”
- “The precinct our congregation adopted had a 10% increase in voter turnout over the last midterm”
- “After collecting signatures from over 11 thousand San Marcos residents who want to see an end to the criminalization of low-level marijuana possession in their community, then advocating for it to be placed on the ballot rather than approved by City Council, Mano Amiga celebrates the ballot measure, Prop A, being approved by 80% of San Marcos voters! Our work to decriminalize marijuana is directly tied to our commitment to the 8th principle — to dismantle white supremacy and racism in all its forms.” — Karen Muñoz, Texas UU Justice Ministry member and co-founder of TXUUJM member organization Mano Amiga
Adrienne Marie Brown, author of Emergent Strategy, suggests that we should work to build the cultures that we want to see in the wider world within our organizing groups. Indeed, how can we get what we want if we don’t do it ourselves?
I want pluralistic, dynamic, collaborative, risk-taking, diverse, learning, and loving collectives. As the popular Martha Sandefer hymn says, “We are building a new way.” It starts with the quality of the work we do together. All the work that we did was rooted in faith – the faith that our collective effort would make a difference. It was rooted in love – love for the people of Texas. It was rooted in the idea that each person has incalculable value and each person’s voice matters. We created environments that encouraged and supported people to move out of their comfort zones. We unlocked and nurtured, not only the power of the voters that we engaged, but also our own power. Yes, we did that! And we will continue, “feeling stronger every day.”
Intern Minister, Texas UU Justice Ministry
Thank you, TXUUJM postcard captains!
We began this 2022 election season planning for what we can do together, and set the goal of collectively, writing 10,000 postcards to Texas voters. Due to your postcard captains’ efforts, we have reached that goal! Included in this project, as a group, we wrote postcards to all of the available addresses in Waller County as well as over ⅓ of the available addresses in Ellis County. Through shared purpose and teamwork, we accomplished so much more together than we would have alone!
Phone banking and text banking
Phone banking involves real conversations with real voters and is a highly effective way to Get Out the Vote. TXUUJM works with Center for Common Ground in a multi-touch, nonpartisan campaign involving mailing to, calling, and texting voters. The idea is that through these multiple touches, voters are more receptive to the message and remember to vote!
Through The Metropolitan Organization (TMO), Houstonians had several opportunities to do in-person canvassing. In addition, our Houston congregations, working with TMO, offered phonebanking to a particular precinct in Houston with a goal of increasing voter turnout there by 10%.
Check out the TXUUJM toolkit, including a flyer for a detailed plan to vote to help you with your table, whether it’s in your congregation or at a local event.
Measuring our results
We’ve developed a google form that you can customize for your congregation to capture your results. Please let us know if you’d like to use it, and we’ll share it with you!!
Also, please share your successes! Send us pictures and video, or share it to the facebook group, and don’t forget to report your results to UU the Vote so they can be included in the #fallflexfor4million campaign to make 4 million voter contacts in this election cycle!
Thank you VDR’s!
Based on conversations with various individuals, it looks like, as a group, our congregations have registered hundreds of new voters before the October 11 deadline to register voters for the November 8 election.