What You Can Do

Many educators will have clear-cut choices before them during this election season, but don’t know how to go about helping the right people get elected. Some races will likely be very close, and – as we have learned through several close elections recently – every vote counts!

Be sure to cover all of The Basics (below); if you would like to help a particular candidate get elected, plan to take at least three of the actions listed in the What's Next section (further down).

The Basics

Know your 2016 election dates. The primary election will be March 1, with early voting running from Feb. 16 through Feb. 26. The general election will be held on Nov. 8, with early voting Oct. 24 - Nov. 4.

Find your early and regular voting places. Your local newspaper should publish this information, or you can contact the person who handles election duties for your county.

Find out who the candidates are. Learn more about the candidates in your state House and Senate districts through the links on our website (via the "Find Your Candidates" tab).

What Next?

Once you've determined that there is a teacher-friendly candidate that you would like to support, here's how you can help.

Contact the candidate to offer your assistance with his/her campaign. Since TCTA does not endorse candidates, you will need to offer assistance as an individual, not as a TCTA representative. Options include:

  • Block walk – go door-to-door in neighborhoods targeted by the candidate to speak with individuals about the candidate’s positions
  • Man a phone bank to encourage people to support your candidate, and to get out the vote
  • “Hands on” work – make signs, stuff envelopes, enter data

Spread the word. Tell your friends and family, church acquaintances, etc., about the candidate and urge them to vote. Send e-mails about his/her pro-education positions, and direct them to the candidate’s website.

Get local teachers excited and involved. Talk to your colleagues about how they can help the candidate's campaign. Plan to carpool to your voting location and then proudly wear your “I VOTED!” sticker.

Hold a candidate forum. TCTA has an information sheet on “Planning a Candidate Forum” that can help you get started.

Check to see if the candidate has requested an ACT For TCTA contribution and/or mailing labels from TCTA. Since TCTA does not endorse candidates, campaign contributions through ACT For TCTA (our political action committee) and mailing labels allow us to provide support for pro-education candidates.

Emphasize early voting. Teachers often find it very difficult to get to polling places on Election Day. Early voting provides an easy opportunity to vote at a convenient time.

Make a contribution – even a small one. As little as $25 can help to pay for yard signs, bumper stickers, phone calls, and other tools that allow a candidate to carry on a conversation with voters. For example, a $25 donation will cover at least two yard signs, and just a few signs on a single street can have a positive impact. Or it can pay for an hour’s worth of time from a couple of block-walkers. Consider becoming a fund raiser yourself by convincing a few friends or colleagues to match your own contribution. Your $25 can quickly grow to $100 or $200, and make a big difference in any campaign.

Resources

Texas Secretary of State
Includes election results from previous elections, and provides information on candidates and the elections process. The Secretary of State has authority over all election proceedings in the state.

www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/index.shtml

Listing of county web sites for larger Texas counties
These sites include information on where to vote and other information specific to your community.

www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/links.shtml

Project Vote
Project Vote is a state-sponsored initiative designed to familiarize students with the voting process; includes curriculum and materials for teachers.

www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/projectvote/index.htm