COO Julie Strum in Dallas Morning News

When Texas’ Secretary of State issued emergency voter secrecy guidance to election offices, allowing them to redact more voter information that is traditionally publicly available to civic nonprofits, MCBA’s own Julie Strum published a strong argument for balancing voter privacy with Get Out The Vote efforts.

As voters, we have the right to ballot secrecy. But emergency measures by the Texas secretary of state may discourage counties from publicizing information crucial to get-out-the-vote efforts.

Excessive limitations could potentially disenfranchise those relying on get-out-the-vote (GOTV) reminders. Turnout for Dallas-Fort Worth municipal elections was incredibly low in May, about 6%. [The publicly available cast vote records and voter registration data for each county reveal that out of 4.1 M registered voters across the 5 counties of Dallas-Fort Worth, only 263,000 votes were cast in the municipal elections.]

Innovative GOTV efforts use reminders and accountability to increase that number. Evidence shows that when voters put a voting day on their calendar, get email reminders and a nudge if they have yet to vote, turnout increases.

Organizations like the Metroplex Civic and Business Association, where I am chief operating officer, use publicly available county voting information to make those systems work. Characterizing all who request county voting data as having nefarious intentions is incorrect.

Turnout is increasing in our local, nonpartisan elections because real-time reminders powered by cast vote records give information about whether (not how) someone has voted.

Read the rest at Dallas Morning News.