Election Boss Making Big Changes

He's only been on the job a few months but the new Harris County Tax Assessor is already making changes. Leo Vasquez has a plan to bring more people to the polls come elections time. Bill Stamps has more.
Every election season, TV and radio airwaves are bombarded with public service announcements from performers and celebrities asking people to get out and vote.

(commercial telling you to vote)

But election officials say that is actually part of the problem — too many people waiting until the last minute to register.

"When you get that last spike and a hundred thousand, a hundred and fifty thousand in one week, it creates all kinds of problems. There's errors in the applications. They get sent back for more information. Someone doesn't send their correction and they don't get registered to vote. So, let's avoid that last second rush that's part of the problem."

So, the man in charge of county elections has a new plan. Leo Vasquez calls it catch them while they're moving.

"Why not make sure every title agent has a voter registration card in their supplies? And when they finish signing all the regular documents, they hand them a voter registration card."

The plan is to do the same thing with apartment hunters. Sign your lease an sign up to vote at the same time. They're also hoping to get help from human resources departments at big businesses.

"Whenever a payroll, or HR department, gets notified of a move, that's a trigger point again. Did you update your voter registration card?"

In the coming months, you'll start seeing local public service announcements letting you know you can register at your new apartment or when you buy house. But don't expect to see Leo DiCaprio or Jamie Foxx — there's no stimulus money available for this get out the vote campaign.

Bill Stamps KUHF Houston Public Radio News