Early voting under way

Posted on 03 May 2007 at 9:01pm
By David Webb Staff Writer

Polls open through May 8 for city, school elections

One of the advantages of living in Texas is the state allows early voting, and voters don’t need a good excuse for taking advantage of the opportunity.

That’s how Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance President Pete Webb says he views the early voting period, which began Monday, April 30, and runs through Tuesday, May 8. Some states only allow early voting if the voter can provide a good excuse for not being able to do it on Election Day, he said.

“I feel very lucky to have no-fault early voting,” Webb said. “Why not do your duty and get it out of the way so you don’t have an excuse not to do it? There’s no lines, and you’re in and out in 10 minutes.”

Webb said the DGLA’s political action committee is urging LGBT residents to take advantage of early voting to avoid something unexpected preventing them from voting on Election Day.

“Some LGBT people tend to take for granted the things we have fought long and hard for,” Webb said. “We all need to vote for progressive people who stand up for our rights.”

Webb noted the municipal election on May 12 is a critical one because so many seats on the City Council are up for grabs. It is especially important that LGBT people in the southern sector of Dallas vote because of the economic growth that is expected there in the coming decade, he said.

Five southern sector City Council seats will be taken by new office holders after the election.

The southern sector is already home to many LGBT residents, and many more are expected to move there as escalating prices in other residential areas of the city make crossing the Trinity River seem like a better deal than ever, according to local LGBT real estate professionals.

“It’s important that we have progressive leadership in South Dallas,” Webb said. “It is important to vote for people who will represent our issues.”

LGBT political activist Jeff Strater said he always encourages his friends to research the candidates and become informed voters before casting their ballots.

In addition to the endorsements by DGLA’s political action committee and Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, LGBT voters can review the Dallas League of Voters Guide and individual candidate Web sites.

“As a LGBT voter, I am concerned when candidates do not participate in LGBT political organizations’ endorsements,” Strater said. “LGBT voters should include in their research why the candidate did not choose to seek LGBT endorsements.”

Webb said he is pleased that there are several gay candidates running in the municipal election. Ed Oakley and Roger Herrera are running for mayor, Joseph Hernandez is running for the District 3 City Council seat and Irby Foster is running for the Dallas County School Board.

“I think it says we have truly progressed when sexual orientation does not hinder you from seeking office and people will vote for the best qualified candidate whether they are gay or straight,” Webb said. “It’s a new day here in the Bible Belt when gay, straight, bisexual and transgender people come out and vote for an openly gay candidate.”

Webb said DGLA’s political action committee is making phone calls reminding people to vote and mailing out reminders.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 4, 2007

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