Pandemic makes voter registration more challenging, organizations say

Organization using phone calls, emails, social media to reach potential voters

Voter registration amid pandemic

SAN ANTONIO – Registering voters isn't what it used to be after the shutdowns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP), the widespread closures have meant taking a new approach to what the longtime organization had been doing to target Latino voters.

"Ground operation complemented with social media. The coronavirus forced us to do the opposite," said Lydia Camarillo, SVREP president.

She said since Texas is not among 39 other states that allow online voter registration, SVREP must try to reach new voters the best way it can.

"We've been doing voter registration for 46 years. We know what works. We know what doesn't work," Camarillo said.

To meet its goal of registering 100,000 new voters, "For Texas, we will use phone banks, mail and texting," she said.

The Republican Party of Texas will do much of the same, said Chairman James Dickey.

"We're looking for 10,000 volunteers to each help us register 10 new Republican voters," Dickey said.

He said the state party already has registered 89,000 voters.

“Our efforts have actually been continuing and, if anything, gaining steam,” Dickey said. “We have not let the greatest pandemic in a century slow us down one bit.”

Link: Bexar County Elections page

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.