The Austin Chronicle

https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2020-05-22/public-notice-voting-any-way-you-want/

Public Notice: Voting, Any Way You Want

Voting by mail ... or with your pocketbook, just for fun

By Nick Barbaro, May 22, 2020, News

If you're not sure where we stand from day to day on the Texas vote-by-mail policy, you're not alone. Can you get a mail ballot for the July 14 election, or the November one, because the coronavirus constitutes a disability keeping you from safely voting in person? The Democratic Party says yes, Ken Paxton says no, two courts said yes, another said no, and now another has said yes, emphatically, but Paxton will appeal that to still another (see "Federal Judge Legalizes Texas Vote-by-Mail"). What's an aspiring voter to think?

Well, through the fog of legal war rides local state Rep. Sheryl Cole to the rescue, with this message of clarity to her constituents:

"There is one key detail that needs to be emphasized. In Texas, it is not policy for voters to provide proof of disability, nor can officials police disabilities. There is not a list of conditions that would make a voter eligible. Would your arthritis, allergies, or headaches qualify you to vote by mail? If you are eligible to vote and believe you have a condition that would affect your ability to vote, then you are allowed to vote by mail."


The Austin Council of PTAs has just launched Austin Fun + Learning, aiming "to support local students by supporting local businesses" – and to promote, well, fun and learning for school-age kids from kindergarten through high school. Local partner stores – so far that's Toy Joy, Wild About Music, BookPeople, Over the Rainbow, and Thinkery – offer discounted prices on anything you buy and donate, and volunteers will deliver the goods to students at the food distribution sites Austin ISD is operating around town. This project just got off the ground this week, so they're looking for people willing to go shopping for a good cause (two, actually), and also for more businesses interested in participating. They'll take donated goods and volunteers as well, though they're already well-partnered with local nonprofits Austin Voices for Education and Youth, Austin Partners in Education, and Marathon Kids. See full info, including the list of stores and discount codes, at www.austincouncilpta.org/funlearning.


This weekend is the state's Water-Efficient Products and Energy Star sales tax holiday; buy water- and energy-­efficient products tax-free this Sat.-Mon., May 23-25. That applies to any products with a WaterSense or Energy Star label, including major appliances, household and garden products, even plants, trees, and grasses. See the full lists here, and here.


Given how poorly the Texas Railroad Commission provides oversight of environmental issues, it'll be worth checking in to hear what the Democratic candidates for the seat have to say to Texas Campaign for the Environment, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, and Environment Texas in a candidates forum via video teleconference, 7-8pm Wed., May 27. Hear from Chrysta Castañeda, Roberto Alonzo, and possibly James Wright; register at bit.ly/RegisterRRCCandidatesForum.

Copyright © 2020 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.

The Austin Chronicle

https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2020-05-22/public-notice-voting-any-way-you-want/

Public Notice: Voting, Any Way You Want

Voting by mail ... or with your pocketbook, just for fun

By Nick Barbaro, May 22, 2020, News

If you're not sure where we stand from day to day on the Texas vote-by-mail policy, you're not alone. Can you get a mail ballot for the July 14 election, or the November one, because the coronavirus constitutes a disability keeping you from safely voting in person? The Democratic Party says yes, Ken Paxton says no, two courts said yes, another said no, and now another has said yes, emphatically, but Paxton will appeal that to still another (see "Federal Judge Legalizes Texas Vote-by-Mail"). What's an aspiring voter to think?

Well, through the fog of legal war rides local state Rep. Sheryl Cole to the rescue, with this message of clarity to her constituents:

"There is one key detail that needs to be emphasized. In Texas, it is not policy for voters to provide proof of disability, nor can officials police disabilities. There is not a list of conditions that would make a voter eligible. Would your arthritis, allergies, or headaches qualify you to vote by mail? If you are eligible to vote and believe you have a condition that would affect your ability to vote, then you are allowed to vote by mail."


The Austin Council of PTAs has just launched Austin Fun + Learning, aiming "to support local students by supporting local businesses" – and to promote, well, fun and learning for school-age kids from kindergarten through high school. Local partner stores – so far that's Toy Joy, Wild About Music, BookPeople, Over the Rainbow, and Thinkery – offer discounted prices on anything you buy and donate, and volunteers will deliver the goods to students at the food distribution sites Austin ISD is operating around town. This project just got off the ground this week, so they're looking for people willing to go shopping for a good cause (two, actually), and also for more businesses interested in participating. They'll take donated goods and volunteers as well, though they're already well-partnered with local nonprofits Austin Voices for Education and Youth, Austin Partners in Education, and Marathon Kids. See full info, including the list of stores and discount codes, at www.austincouncilpta.org/funlearning.


This weekend is the state's Water-Efficient Products and Energy Star sales tax holiday; buy water- and energy-­efficient products tax-free this Sat.-Mon., May 23-25. That applies to any products with a WaterSense or Energy Star label, including major appliances, household and garden products, even plants, trees, and grasses. See the full lists here, and here.


Given how poorly the Texas Railroad Commission provides oversight of environmental issues, it'll be worth checking in to hear what the Democratic candidates for the seat have to say to Texas Campaign for the Environment, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, and Environment Texas in a candidates forum via video teleconference, 7-8pm Wed., May 27. Hear from Chrysta Castañeda, Roberto Alonzo, and possibly James Wright; register at bit.ly/RegisterRRCCandidatesForum.

Copyright © 2020 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.

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