(CORPUS CHRISTI) – With early voting for the November 3 General Election set to begin on October 13, several Coastal Bend LGBTQIA+ organizations have come together to produce a month-long Get Out The Vote (GOTV) initiative to increase voter engagement and participation. The Mosaic Project of South Texas, which operates PRIDE Corpus Christi, is spearheading bilingual messaging to encourage registered LGBTQIA+ voters to make their voices heard on a larger scale.

“The first step in voter engagement is voter registration, but the goal of this Get Out The Vote initiative is to move voters into action,” said Tom Tagliabue, President of the Mosaic Project of South Texas. “With the number of federal, state, county, city and other important races on the ballots and the issues being debated by candidates and voters, interest should be at an all-time high. It is imperative that even with a global pandemic that nothing impede, discourage, or get in the way of our fundament right to vote.”

The LGBTQIA+ GOTV initiative will include 50 bus benches throughout Corpus Christi with the message “Don’t Sit This One Out-Vote!” and “No Te Quedes Sentado-Vota!”. Numerous sources indicate approximately 100 million registered voters in America did not cast their votes in the 2016 Presidential Election. A digital social media campaign is being developed using Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat on voter registration, LGBTQIA+ voter resources, the mail-in ballot process, a series of podcasts generational gaps/experiences in business as LGBT and GOTV resources and PRIDE-themed online advertising (“Vote With PRIDE!” and “Vota Con Orgulla!”). Additional content on these social media platforms as well as the PRIDE Corpus Christi website will include information on voter registration deadlines, early voting dates (October 13-31), polling locations and hours as well as shared content from other nonpartisan sources.

Funding for the GOTV initiative is provided by the Mosaic Project of South Texas, LULAC Para Todos, and Herrman and Herrman law firm. “Voting is one of the most important ways we can shape the future of the LGBTQIA+ community,” LULAC Para Todos Vice President Robert Garcia said. “Ensuring government is protective of LGBTIA+ rights and representative to the needs of voters is to turnout to vote. Our voices are amplified when we encourage our LGBTQIA+ community, our families, friends, and allies to vote by mail or in person.” Greg Herrman, Managing Partner of Herrman and Herrman said encouraging people to register and vote is a principle part of the firm’s community involvement commitment. “We are proud to partner with members of the LGBTQIA+ community to encourage voter turnout,” Herrman said. “The best way to ensure fairness, equality and justice is to vote.”

In the last seven Presidential Election Years between 1992 and 2016 in Nueces County, only once has voter turnout been above 60 percent and in the last six voter turnout has not exceeded 54 percent. USA Today reported LGBTQ voters are becoming an increasingly key constituency for presidential candidates. On Super Tuesday in March 2020, 10 percent of voters identified as queer, a marked jump from the six percent recorded in the 2018 midterm elections.

The Coastal Bend Trans Alliance in conjunction with CCLGBT are also conducting its own voter engagement program entitled “I Vote Because…”. CCLGBT President Liz MusellaRobledo said its campaign shares personal stories about the individual’s motivation for voting. “Voting is central to our core values as an organization to further develop the LGBTQIA+ community in the Coastal Bend and improve the quality of life for all,” Musella-Robledo said. “We are committed to promoting equality and respect for all people.” Brittany Ramirez Andrews of the Trans Alliance stressed transgender individuals should have the right to vote regardless of gender identity. “Having a state-issued identification that doesn’t match your gender identity or presentation should not affect your right to cast a ballot,” Andrews stated. “No one should face barriers to voting because of bias or misunderstandings of the law about gender identity. It is voter suppression. It’s discrimination and it’s wrong.”

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