EPISD–new voters

Don’t be surprised if the El Paso Independent School District launches a voter registration drive to get their 18 year olds registered to vote.

It’s part of being a good citizen after all.

We will probably see our state senator visiting the students to tell them how important voting is.

The Ysleta Independent School District used this strategy after their big bond issue failed to get voter approval.  A few months later they launched their voter registration program.  Then they called for a new bond election.  The 18 year olds were encouraged to vote.  The bond passed.

As parents and grandparents we should take the time to help the new voters understand the issues related to the EPISD bond election.

We deserve better



20 Responses to EPISD–new voters

  1. Deputy Dawg says:

    They had better hurry since today is the last day to register:


    “As parents and grandparents we should take the time to help the new voters understand the issues related to the EPISD bond election.” Because obviously, 18 years olds that are old enough to serve our country in the military cannot possibly think on their own, nor have they actually experienced the school conditions that the bond would begin to fix.

    Perhaps the students need to help the parents and grandparents understand the issue.


    • Dan Wever says:

      Did you know that they have mobile voting stations that the EPISD is allowed to send where they want during the early voting part of the election. Most of the time they are sent to schools. Will EPISD employees be allowed to vote on these mobile voting machines? Will the 18 year olds be allowed to vote when the machine is at their school?. You cannot tell who voted on these machines unless you have the voter lists and even then no age of voter is given. I will look for a letter that was sent to the Federal Elections Department that I wrote for some Ysleta ISD voters a few years ago and it explains what school districts can do in a plain bond election, which is what the voters will get if this one fails, only it will be a litter lower which is the normal plan for these things.


      • Dan Wever says:

        Here is the letter I sent for the Ysleta people. Nothing was done because we were told that complaints had to be filed within 30 days of the election and we missed this by a few months. It took that long for me to figure out what had happened. IMHO

        January 9, 2008

        U.S. Department of Justice
        Civil Rights Division
        Voting Section –NWB
        950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
        Washington, DC 20530

        Attention: Mr. John Tanner
        Chief, Voting Section

        Dear Mr. Tanner,

        We are writing you because a group of citizens thought that a recent election in El Paso was flawed.

        We got your name from a letter you wrote to Jerry R. Wallace Esq. dated November 20th, 2007 concerning the special rollback election for the Ysleta ISD with an open record request from the Ysleta ISD. .

        This election was held October 8th 2007. We had the General Election November 6th, 2007.

        It was known that the trustees of the Ysleta ISD did not want the election to coincide with the general election as evidenced by their early adoption of the tax rate.

        Previous year’s budgets and tax rates were approve by the board in past years on the following dates.
        2003—August 20, 2003
        2004—August 25, 2004
        2005—August 23, 2005
        2006—August 29, 2006

        This year the budget and tax rate was scheduled at a July 11, 2007 meeting to be approved on July 26th but they delayed it until a special meeting was scheduled for August 6, 2007. (Regular board meeting was scheduled for August 8th) This earlier than usual approval was necessitated by the board’s decision not to have the election at the same time as the General Election of November 6th because if a special election (rollback) is scheduled within 90 days of a regular election date the regular election date must be used.
        Also, at the July 11 BOT meeting a motion was made by another board member to schedule the date to set the tax rate on August 15 but was voted down because this would necessitate having the election on November 6, the general election date because of the 90 day rule.

        Also at the August 6th meeting, a motion was made to approve a salary increase for Ysleta ISD employees for 2007-2008 of an additional 5%, contingent upon the affirmation of the rollback election. (A step increase for the teachers and a 1% raise for all other employees had been approved earlier in the meeting)

        Here, in our opinion is when the trouble started. The YISD has over 6,000 employees with a large number living in the district and thus eligible to vote on their salary raise if the rollback tax increase passed.

        It is our group’s opinion that the YISD did everything in their power to make sure there was a low voter turnout and thus the employees themselves could carry the election. We will try to show you
        how in our collective opinion this was accomplished. We also feel some laws might have been violated in these actions.

        The Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees set the following rules for this election.

        The wording on the ballot was so tricky that the El Paso Times had an article about how voting FOR the tax ROLLBACK election was actually a vote of “Yes” to increase taxpayer taxes. Many people were confused as to what they were voting for.

        1. The date was set for October 8th which was a HOLIDAY. (Columbus Day)

        Note: If this had been a bond election or if the following excerpt from Board Policy CCA (Legal) holds true for this rollback election then the 30 day limit was not adhered to in this Oct. 8th election as it is only 29 days before the November 6th General Election Date.

        No bonds shall be issued or taxes levied unless approved by a majority
        of the qualified voters of the District who vote at an election
        held for such purpose. The election shall be called by Board resolution,
        which shall set the date, polling places, and propositions to
        be voted on.
        The election shall be held on a uniform election date.
        Except for elections held on a uniform election date or in an emergency
        situation approved by the governor, elections may not be
        held within 30 days before or after the date of the general election

        Just for the record we do not have a lawyer in our group and do not have the money to hire one that would handle this for us so of course there are many things we do not understand, however, we are able to use common sense most of the time.

        2. The Trustees went to the El Paso County Elections Department for help with the election. Helen Jamison, the head of the elections department, responded to a member of our group via e-mail and said the following. All (sic)
        “When Ann Miller asked me for recommendations on the regular polling places I asked my map tech. to look at the map and pick the polling place that would be the most centrally located. We marked the map and sent the list with the indication that they should make the final selections. Evidentially they didn’t have the time to study the locations because the list was given to the board to approve. Any board from any entity could make changes before approving anything. YISD voted on the selections which made it official. They definitely picked the early voting and the few mobile sites.”

        August 29, 2007 minutes of meeting this was recorded.

        The Trustees added to their minutes this entry: August 29th: Under Action, Item No. A-I, Approve & Confirm Final Polling Site Designations as submitted and recommended by the El Paso County Elections Office for the October 8, 2007 Rollback Election. Trustee Reyes made a motion to approved & confirm Final Polling Site. Designations as submitted and recommended by the El Paso County Elections Office for the
        October 8, 2007 Rollback Election, with a second from Trustee Chavez. Vote of approval was

        Our group was unable to ascertain for sure which list of precincts was given to the trustees by the Elections department, but since Ms. Jamison said in an earlier e-mail to one of our members that she had told the YISD people that when closing or combining precincts they needed to make sure 50% of normal precincts were left available to the voters in a special election in order to be legal.

        We checked and Texas Election Code 43.007 (f) states In selecting countywide polling places, a county must adopt a methodology for determining where each polling place will be located. The total number of countywide polling places may not be less than 50[0] percent[0] of the number of precinct polling places that would otherwise be located in the county.

        Mr. Tanner, the information that the Ysleta ISD submitted to you in a letter you received on September 21 had all of the correct information in it, however, it did not give any percentage information as far as we can ascertain. Again we are not lawyers but we submit the following.
        There are normally 49 precincts in this area and only 22 of them were open for this election. This computes to only 45% of normal precinct voting stations being open. Looking at the precincts that were left open and the ones that were combined one finds that the top 3 precincts in percentage of registered voters voting in the November election of 2006 you find they were closed or combined. Three of the worst were left open. If a study were made of the precincts combined you would find that over 54% of the registered voters were required to vote in a different, unfamiliar precinct. There are of course many things you could point to that smacks of trying to keep the voting totals low but one that sticks out to us is a precinct that has a lot of elderly people. The precinct has a housing project for the elderly and is within short walking distance of the project and the regular precinct location is in a recreation center that is well attended every day by the elderly residents. In the Nov. 2006 election 512 votes were cast from this precinct and this year when the precinct was closed and moved over a mile away only 19 people voted in the rollback election. Our group contends that since most elderly people are traditionally against the idea of higher property taxes, even though it does not affect them, the regular precinct was closed realizing that many elderly people would not be able to vote in a different precinct. If this indeed was reasoned out by someone, then it worked very well.

        3. Remember what Ms. Jamison said in her e-mail. “They (YISD) definitely picked the early voting and the few mobile sites.” If you check the early voting sites you will find that they are all at schools and Mr. Tanner, parking at schools in El Paso during the day till about 4PM is almost non-existent. The early polls closed at 5PM. If anyone did want to vote early during the day they would more than likely have to park about a block or two away and walk to the school. Also looking again at the rank, of the precincts in the November 2006 election the early voting sites were ranked 22nd, 23rd, 27th, 39th, and 42nd out of the original 49 precincts. We do not think that these precincts could have been selected at random but rather were selected because of their lower turnout and thus less likeyhood of people using these early voting locations. We feel this setup of parking and location did not give the non-employee voters a fair chance to vote early and this of course would contribute to a low voter turnout. Which again is what happened.

        4. The mobile sites selections kind of sum up what we feel happened in this election. It seems that the Superintendent gave about 7 afternoon presentations at different school locations telling school employees why the vote should pass. (Hearsay as none of our members attended any of these meetings, but, what was done could be verified with a proper investigation.) We heard that some teachers were released at 3PM in order to make these meetings. A letter or e-mail was sent to all the principals notifying them of these meetings and the principals notified all of their employees. They were also told that if they wanted to vote at these meetings there would be (mobile) voting stations in the libraries of the schools that were hosting the meetings. We do not know if the general public was informed of these meetings but could find no mention in any of the media outlets.

        5. We heard stories from people that went to vote and found out their precinct was not being used in this election and at some places nobody knew where it had been moved. Thus, if true rules for combining precincts were again violated or at least not administered very well because signs are supposed to be very visible telling where to vote if a precinct is closed.

        6. Some other board policies and state and voting statues may have been compromised by the district and the trustees. We were told that the meetings with the Superintendent were full of reasons why the tax measure should be passed. The Superintendent was on the public “dime” as far as we can tell. Also any employees that were released early were on the public “dime”. This in violation of the Codes below.
        No officer or employee of the District shall expend or authorize the
        expenditure of District funds for the purpose of political advertising.
        Funds may be expended, however, for advertising that describes
        the factual reasons for a measure and does not advocate the passage
        or defeat of such measure. Election Code 255.003

        The Board may not use state or local funds or other resources of
        the District to electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or
        political party. Education Code 11.168

        We feel it is almost impossible for the YISD to maintain this required separation of costs from regular administrative duties the way the election was handled. Example, the notifying of the Principals of the afternoon meetings and their subsequent notification of the employees is “paperwork” and has a value.

        This 36 million dollar tax increase vote was passed by 2550 FOR and 2323 AGAINST.

        Our group feels that voting is very a important and a sacred right that has been earned with the blood of our ancestors, fathers, brothers, sons and daughters and every effort should be made by the people sponsoring an election to allow the voting public to participate without blocks and obstacles to try and make the election result come out a certain way. We believe that is what happened in this election. We think government should protect the people from these types of abuses and any help from your office would be appreciated.

        Just a note to show you what the raises were after the tax measure passed. The top administrators got $7,250 a year raise and a teacher with a master’s degree and 27 years of service got $1,402.


        Cc: Texas Secretary of State (Elections Department)
        Austin American Statesman Editor
        Newspaper Tree El Paso, Texas


    • Dan Wever says:

      How could the 18 year olds help their parents and grandparents?
      The parents and grandparents have not been told the truth, do you think the young people can see through the garbage reasons like we are losing 5,000 students and will not get as much money from the state as we used to get. My question is how much money does it take to educate 5,000 students that the EPISD does not have? And there are many many more like the charter school deal made with the Union. All Bull.


  2. Ruh Roh... says:

    Already happened Apologist … I mean… Dawg… why wait til the last day!

    Already happened!



    • Deputy Dawg says:

      Good for them! Getting students involved in the democratic process and teaching them to do their civic duty, something I think everyone on this board would agree that they need to do.
      As an added bonus, they will participate in a historic election where the first woman president is elected!

      Don’t want students voting? Then work to change the minimum voting age.


  3. Casual Observer says:

    Most 18-year-olds, even if they can think past Friday night and can grasp the concepts of property taxes, are not the least bit concerned about our taxes going up because they don’t want to stay in El Paso. Many others don’t even related because their parents don’t own property.


  4. Tickedofftaxpayer says:

    I voted in my first election at 18 (and btw I was a sophomore in college at that point). I had never applied for a mortgage, didn’t pay property tax, didn’t pay for my health insurance and didn’t own a car. My parents were also covering my tuition. I had worked summer jobs and understood how much taxes took out of that paycheck and because my dad was career military, I had a better understanding of the military, national security and global politics (grew up living around the world.) All that said, my understanding of what I was voting for then vs. now is night and day. Those kids may be voting away their ability to qualify for a mortgage. They may also be voting to attend a cheaper college or starting to help their parents out financially much earlier in life. Because, this bond issue combined with the rest of our taxing entities is going to add hundreds of dollars in taxes to the mythical average home. For folks buying more than a starter home, this increase may top $1000 extra in annual taxes. Hopefully parents and grandparents can help them understand that.


  5. The Oracle says:

    Most of the 18 year old’s of recent. . . . are NOT the same 18 year old’s of the 50’s, 60’s, or 1970’s.
    They are not of the same ADULT-ish mindset.
    Most have been given NO Adult responsibilities or read and study before voting. (Not that most other adults STUDY the voting issues, either.)
    There are different TYPES of 18 year old’s.
    Imagine an entire area / an entire group, where 18 year old’s were “raised in an isolated jungle” without studying anything or hardly knowing how to read and write.
    High School grads have the lowest test scores ever.
    Most cannot read a BOOK.
    Most do not have legible writing.
    (I KNOW this because I have a LOT of them fill out forms and I SEE how they print. It takes 3-4 people looking at each form to TRY and decipher what they sort-of printed. (They cannot WRITE cursive any longer.)

    The majority do not study or read, or DESIRE to read and listen to the news. Playing games on their iphones does not count.
    They think comedy shows on cable TV. . . IS. . . the news.
    Well, . . . WRONG.

    They allow 18 year old’s in the military because of their STRENGTH at this time of their life.
    18 year old’s have the ABILITY, if trained properly, to carry a 70 pound backpack for 10 miles or all day.
    If trained properly. IF, IF, IF. . . TRAINED PROPERLY.

    Just because they Turned 18 and joined the army, does not mean they are TRAINED yet. They have to go thru a LOT of “classroom” type training to bring them up to speed to perform correctly for the army.
    Many do not make the cut and are let go.

    Just because they “Turned 18” does not make them an adult with adult thinking. They have to be trained. And be able to absorb that training.

    So, just because someone “Turned 18” does NOT mean they are “Qualified or Ready or Prepared to Vote.

    I suggest also that because MOST 18-21 year old’s are not Drafted (or join the army) and forced/ or taught to “Get along with others” of all races, is WHY we have a big separation of young adults that do NOT get along with other races. They just have not been exposed to the closeness and companionship that they get in the military with other races.
    When most everyone was drafted, most had close relationships with other races and learned how to get along.
    So, not any longer. (You will see the divide starting when the Draft was removed.)
    (I’m not suggesting the re-introduction . . OF . . . the Military Draft, I’m just saying what happened AFTER the Draft was removed.)

    As these young adults stay isolated, in their own communities, they get further and further away from developing any bonds with other races. Any “fear” they have of other races gets stronger and stronger and the hate grows. They stay isolated in their own families, their own neighborhoods, not experiencing bonding, helping, and working as teams with other races and other people in general.

    The military training involves working in teams, living together, working together.

    Isolated people/ groups/ fear each other and the hate grows.


  6. BabyApe says:

    They are not only trying to register high students eligible to vote they are trying to influence them to vote yes. The elementary school my grandson goes to sent home flyers in his backpack for the parents on the bond issue. For me – it is a NO vote on this PIG!


  7. Judy Maddox says:

    Did they do a voter registration drive in the high schools? If not it is too late to register now. The parents should be up in arms when their child or grand child says they get extra credit for showing proof that they voted. It is against the law to offer any form of compensation for a vote. I have seen and heard students make this statement or their parents ask for proof of voting for their student .

    Sent from my iPhone



  8. Cranky says:

    Good to hear the cranky old man debate here: Kids these days just aren’t as smart/informed/aggressive/talented/motivated as kids when I WAS 18! What a laugh. You remember how you were at 18? Most of you can’t remember what you had for dinner last night.

    That is the cranky old man noise stated by every single generation ever! Actually, “kids these days” are more informed, and more involved than probably any generation before. They have more media outlets that they view (including comedy shows, some of which having won Peabody awards for excellence in reporting like the Daily Show). And don’t rely solely on their parents as their sources of information.


    • The Oracle says:

      They COULD be informed with all of the news outlets if they wanted or. . . . . CARED.
      Certainly they don’t CARE.
      They COULD also learn a trade Online by watching 500 youtube videos on how to fix or do. . . anything in the world, and get a job, or start freelancing themselves. But do they?


      On ebay and etsy, the most horrible and stupid products offered for sale are made by El Pasoans.
      Totally uneducated and don’t know HOW to discover their niche.
      Very very very rare to find any Quality products being made and sold on ebay and etsy by individuals.
      El Pasoans will have MAYBE a dozen worthwhile crafts-persons selling their stuff and Las Cruces will have 100 for every 3-4 El Pasoans.
      Santa Fe and Albuquerque will have hundreds and hundreds more in these much smaller towns.

      So close in distance . . . but in ingenuity and quality craftsmanship . . . a million miles apart.

      (You’ll notice that El Paso has NO Craft Shows.)

      Kermazzar is no longer.


    • anonymous says:

      I did my share of dumb things, yes. But I was taught to be kind and respectful to others, especially adults. To hold the door for others and to say “thank you” when someone does the same for me. To question, but to also listen. To say ma’am and sir. To clear my table at self-service restaurants rather than leave the mess to others. I was taught the value of having a job and doing actual work from an early age. I also could read and write, which is more than can be said for a large percentage of the students coming out of local high schools.

      So, yes, thankfully there were some differences between how I was raised and what I see in teenagers today.


  9. Fact Check on promise not to sell to charter schools says:

    Brutus. I know that the board claims to have entered a resolution to not sell closed campuses to charter schools. This is not what actually happened. El Paso has been lied to again.

    Here is what is written into the actual Board Resolution that was adopted:

    SECTION 4: District staff will hold one or more public meetings to discuss the preferred use or disposition of school facilities that are closed as part of any school consolidation. The CURRENT Board of Trustees of the District BELIEVES that no excess property should be sold to competing charter schools unless otherwise required by applicable law.

    And here is the ”applicable law” they are talking about:

    Sec. 11.1542. OPEN-ENROLLMENT CHARTER SCHOOL OFFER FOR DISTRICT FACILITY. (a) The board of trustees of an independent school district that intends to sell, lease, or allow use for a purpose other than a district purpose of an unused or underused district facility must give each open-enrollment charter school located wholly or partly within the boundaries of the district the opportunity to make an offer to purchase, lease, or use the facility, as applicable, in response to any terms established by the board of trustees, before offering the facility for sale or lease or to any other specific entity.
    (b) This section does not require the board of trustees of a school district to accept an offer made by an open-enrollment charter school.

    Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1140 (S.B. 2), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

    Sec. 11.1543. CHARTER SCHOOL PAYMENT FOR FACILITIES USE OR FOR SERVICES. (a) An independent school district may not require a campus or campus program that has been granted a charter under Subchapter C, Chapter 12, and that is the result of the conversion of the status of an existing school district campus to pay rent for or to purchase a facility in order to use the facility.
    (b) An independent school district may not require a campus or campus program described by Subsection (a) or an open-enrollment charter school to pay for any service provided by the district under a contract between the district and the campus, campus program, or open-enrollment charter school an amount that is greater than the amount of the actual costs to the district of providing the service.

    Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1140 (S.B. 2), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.


    • Dan Wever says:

      Fact Check, Thank you for saving me the trouble. Good Work, I thought I was the only person paying attention. 🙂


      • Fact check says:

        Dan. Notice the EPISD resolution doesn’t say the Board is against LEASING the property. There is also no firm agreement NOT to sell. There is just a BELIEF statement. So they just said what the unions wanted to hear to get their endorsement. I don’t think a former Federation president you know very well would have fallen for this tripe. I think she would have seen right through all of this malarkey.


        • Dan Wever says:

          Fact Check, You are of course correct. She did not even think it was proper for a trustee to be “talking” to the Union about this stuff. I know in my heart that a majority of teachers would not buy into this deal when it means closing viable schools and putting children on buses for an hour and a half a day on the promise of a pay raise. If they really would I guess the teachers have changed along with everything else. 😦


  10. Anonymous says:

    Interesting. We bemoan the locker if voter participation, but yet you criticize an effort to engage young people to participate in the electoral process simply because they may vote for something or someone you disagree with? So much for democracy Brutus. Instead, much hypocrisy. We deserve better indeed.


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