What Does Democracy Look Like: Get Out the Vote

What Does Democracy Look Like: Get Out the Vote


With a very important election season approaching, Black Freedom Factory will be highlighting community organizations doing the work.

 After all, the race to diversity and equity is a marathon, not a sprint. 

According to Census.gov, Reported Voting and Registration, by Sex, Race and Hispanic Origin, for states in the November 2016 Presidential Election, in the State of Texas a total of 20,172 people were registered to vote – 16,095 – White (alone), 9,534 – non-Hispanic alone, 6,923 – Hispanic (of any race) , 2,458 – Black (alone) , 1,110 – Asian (alone). 

Additionally, the Texas secretary of state’s office reported that only a quarter of registered voters actually participated in the 2020 Primary Elections.

Meet Valerie Reiffert – Radical Registrars

The national elections are not the only elections that are important – local elections equally hold political weight in amplifying the people’s voice. In lieu of protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd, social justice advocates in San Antonio, called elected city officials to action in a consistent dialogue surrounding the future of policing and Public Health and Safety.

Just recently, City Council unanimously passed a $2.9 billion budget for the 2020-20201 Fiscal Year. The proposed budget includes $487 million for the San Antonio Police Department – it also includes an $8 million increase in spending compared to that of the previous years budget.

Among activists in the community who have urged City Council to reallocate funding is Valerie Reiffert – Co-Founder of Radical Registrars, a local organization who is registering San Antonians one-by-one in an effort to ensure that the community has a say in the upcoming election season. Valerie shares her experience and what empowers her passion to register voters.

 – What inspired the birth of your organization?

“The inspiration of our organization was the George Floyd Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. He/That is what drew us out and ultimately brought us together.”

What does the name ‘Radical Registrars’ reflect about your organization?

By definition, radical means relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something – advocating for political or social change. Voting is radical. John Lewis said voting is your most powerful non violent tool you have. In getting people registered to vote we’re affecting radical change.”

How long has your organization been active in San Antonio?

“Our organization has been active since early June. I like to say June 3rd since that is the day I became deputized and joined others in registering people at the protests. My team and Brandon with Move Texas taught me everything I know.

Why is the upcoming election important for voters locally/nationally?

This election is the most important one in our lifetime. 

As a Black woman, there is personally so much at stake for me. 

I am a mother to a Black son, I am a sister to a Black brother – I care about all Black men in the U.S. who are just trying to live and strive in this country. It’s a terrifying time right now and our ONLY hope is a HUGE TURNOUT at the polls. 

What work has your organization been a part of/ lead in the San Antonio Community?

“Radical Registrars have registered about 700 voters and helped deputize over 50 people. 

We’ve also partnered with Move Texas and the San Antonio Spurs to help register 300 + people in one single event.”

How can people get involved ?

“Step 1 – Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar.

Step 2 – VOTE every single time there is an election – local, state and national.

Step 3 – Be civically engaged.

Please follow Radical Registrars on social media to be updated on events and locations we will be at to get the community registered to vote.”

Follow Radical Registrars:

Sources: Valerie Reiffert speaks with media covering a protest in San Antonio.
Photo: Emilie Eaton/Staff, Staff