Elections

Mayor Turner hosts annual nonpartisan convention on voter rights

The convention consisted of elected officials, business leaders and community activists discussing strategies that will protect, defend, and promote voter rights education. 

Ashley Brown / Houston Public Media
Mayors from various cities met for the annual National Nonpartisan Conversation on Voter Rights.

Mayor Sylvester Turner hosted the second annual National Nonpartisan Conversation on Voter Rights in Houston this week with a group of bipartisan mayors from across the country.

The convention consisted of elected officials, business leaders and community activists discussing strategies that will protect, defend, and promote voter rights education.

With the upcoming election approaching and new restrictive voting laws that were passed last year in place, Turner held a press conference on Tuesday, with five other mayors – Republicans and Democrats – to discuss voter rights and access.

"When it comes to voter registration that's nonpartisan, when it comes to the infrastructure ... that's nonpartisan. And when it comes to just counting – that should be nonpartisan," said Mayor Slyvester Turner.

Some major changes to requirements like mail-in-ballots caused confusion during some primary elections, and now mayors want to educate voters in their cities.

Denver Mayor and Texas-native Michael B. Hancock organized the first Nonpartisan Conversation on Voter Rights last year to develop strategies to help local officials protect voter rights.

He says it’s up to local officials to show residents their votes still count despite new laws.

"While states oversee the election process, it’s actually the county and local officials who administer the voting process," said Hancock.

Hancock said many bills have been proposed to the legislature that have or could affect voter rights.

"Some 500 pieces of legislation have been proposed across this nation since 2019 to suppress voter rights," he said. "Thirty-four states, more than three-quarters of this nation, have passed legislation to suppress the right to vote."

September 20 is Voter Registration Day. Mayor Turner said some laws are making it hard for voters to trust the system.

"When the infrastructure becomes partisan, then that breeds distrust," he said.

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