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TOP’s Statement on County’s Vote for Special Election for Harvey Bond

The following is a statement by Tarsha Jackson, criminal justice director of the Texas Organizing Project, on today’s vote by the Harris County Commissioners Court to ask Gov. Greg Abbott for permission to hold a special election on Aug. 25 on a multi-billion dollar bond package in response to Hurricane Harvey:

“We are deeply disappointed with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and the commissioners who voted to put yet another election on a calendar already heavy with elections.

“Despite their words to the contrary, their action today makes it clear that Emmett and the commissioners want to suppress voter turnout, that they want to put a decision that will affect every resident in Harris County in the hands of a few.

“TOP works hard every election cycle to increase voter participation. Special elections have historically had lower turnouts that tend to be older, whiter and richer. This gives us grave concern that people of color will not only be left out of the vote but the allocation of funds generated by the bond as well.

“An issue as important as flood protection should be voted on in November to maximize turnout. Calling a special election two months before the midterms and expecting a respectable turnout is asking for blood from a turnip – an impossible task.

“We applaud Commissioner Rodney Ellis for standing up for the community and pushing back against this effort to minimize community input.

“Today’s vote was wrong. Shame on Judge Emmett!”

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Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.