Priscila Martinez, Field Director
You might be surprised at how different Texas was when I joined Battleground Texas in 2013.
We would go to county elections offices and people thought we were crazy — they had never heard of an organization that wanted to train people how to register voters. When we brought in 500 voter registration forms on the fourth of July, they got mad at us for giving them so much work to do. We were creating an organized voter registration effort that had never been done before.
Now, many counties hold voter registration trainings each month; they’re prepared to get 500 forms on the fourth of July. Schools expect us to show up and register students. And most importantly, we’ve empowered and built a network of trained volunteers that spans across the state.
When I was a Field Organizer in the Valley, Alexis, one of our volunteers, was so excited to be trained by us. She didn’t know that you could be an organizer for a living. The fact that someone, for the first time, was investing in her community, inspired her to become an organizer.
It’s always been about the volunteers; volunteers are Battleground Texas. We invest in our volunteers — we train them to be organizers, and we empower them to make change in their communities. They go on to do great things, like start non-profits or run for statewide office. One of our volunteers is now a board member. Four of our staffers — Luis, Bricia, Oscar, and Summer — all started as volunteers.
Across the state, our volunteers are doing great things. Thirty of our Dallas volunteers canvassed neighborhoods to encourage people to vote in the primary. In predominantly Latino schools in San Antonio and Houston, our volunteers registered hundreds of students and educated them on the importance of voting. Teams in Galveston County and Nacogdoches are organizing all on their own, using our training materials to conduct voter registration drives, find new volunteers, and continue to build leadership within their own volunteer teams. Our volunteers in Parker County held more 5 voter registration drives this month and recruited more than 10 new volunteers at a Democratic Debate watch party.
I’m proud of where we’ve been, and where we’re going to go. We’re going to continue to invest in communities, to respect and empower our volunteers. We’re going to continue registering even more voters more efficiently than we ever have been before.
The problems with Texas run deep and will take longer to solve than a few election cycles. Our work isn’t finished — thank you to all of our volunteers, who know that and are prepared to stand with us. We have to keep going, together.