Election Day is Tuesday, March 4

Election Day is this Tuesday, March 4. Polls will be open from 7 am to 7 pm.

This is a Vote Center election, so you can vote at any polling location in Travis County no matter where in the county you are registered. You do not need to vote in your precinct! A map of polling locations is below:

View Travis County Election Day Locations March 4, 2014 JOINT PRIMARY in a larger map

You may find a list of polling locations here.

Don’t forget your voter ID! For a list of acceptable forms of ID, please follow this link.

    Early Voting Begins Today – Five Things You Need to Know

     It’s the first day of early voting. Here are five things you need to know:

    1. Where and when — Early Voting starts today! It runs until Friday, February 28. Click here for a list of voting locations and hours. Click here for a map of voting locations and hours. Most polls are open from 7 to 7.

    2. What you need — a photo ID! In the past, you could vote with just your voter registration card. Now, you’ll need that photo ID. For more info on acceptable forms of identification, click here.

    3. How to Vote — Never voted in a Democratic Primary before? No problem! It’s easy. When you go to vote, present your ID and let the clerk know that you’d like the Democratic Primary ballot. Don’t forget to scroll down and vote for Brown! The county judge race will probably be on the third page of your ballot.

    4. After you’re done — Call, e-mail, or text three friends to remind them that early voting is going on now.

    5. Help us out on the homestretch — We need your help calling voters, knocking on doors, entering data, and more. Sign up here or just come straight to our office at 1406 Waller Street. And, you can always chip in a few bucks to help us in the final days.

    This has been a long and spirited campaign. It’s hard to believe we kicked it off in June with nearly 600 people at Threadgill’s. There is a difference between the candidates running for this post.

    Travis County Judge is a leadership position, and it requires a proven leader. I’ve spent my life serving the people and organizing as a leader, whether it was working to end the use of leaded gasoline in Honduras back in the 90s, pushing back against Republican gerrymandering with our Congressman Lloyd Doggett, or serving as volunteer Chair of the Travis County Democratic Party. That’s why 14 of 17 Democratic clubs, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Senator Kirk Watson, nearly all of the teacher, labor, and public safety unions, and thousands of grassroots activists have rallied around my campaign.

    I believe in the power of government to do great things. I believe it can help people and lift us up, empowering those who don’t always have a voice or a say. Government is not a business, and the County Judge is not a CEO. I have been campaigning for many months because I want to bring folks together to improve every person’s life in Travis County.

    So please join me, and get that vote in as soon as possible. You never know what might happen between now and Election Day, and every vote is crucial in this race.

    Don’t delay, vote today!

      It’s Time for a Sobriety Center in Travis County

      Did you know that there is a better way to address mental and behavior health in Travis County? I recently took trips to Houston and San Antonio to see first-hand how these Texas cities are mitigating the high cost of public intoxication arrests—many of which involve the homeless or mentally ill.

      Accompanying me on these trips were United Way and Caritas board member Dan Graham, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition executive director Ana Correa, Austin Interfaith Leader Ofelia Zapata, Austin/Travis County EMS Association president Tony Marquardt, and Ending Community Homelessness Coalition Board Member Tim League, —all of whom, like me, are passionate about this matter.

      What we found in both cities are success stories. Houston and San Antonio have Sobriety Centers—places police can take inebriated people to sober up and steer to counseling services and recovery resources. In Houston, we toured the Houston Center for Sobriety, witnessed an intake, and saw clients sleeping off their intoxication. In San Antonio we toured the much larger Haven for Hope campus.

      Sobriety Centers are smart and effective alternatives to the timely and costly process of throwing inebriated people into jail.

      Other cities around the country—from Boise and Denver to San Francisco and San Diego—established Sobriety Centers years ago. They get it.

      And it’s time we establish a Sobriety Center in Travis County.

      What I’m proposing in no way reduces punishment for offenses involving driving while intoxicated or driving while under the influence of a substance. Rather, it addresses how we use our emergency rooms, booking facilities and jail to warehouse inebriated, non-violent offenders.

      Right now, if a police officer or a deputy sheriff picks someone up who is extremely intoxicated, the officer may call an Austin/Travis County EMS ambulance to take that person to an emergency room. Then, a police officer must stand guard until the person sobers up enough to be placed in central booking. This crowds our emergency rooms and takes law enforcement officers away from their jobs of patrolling our streets for criminals.

      And guess who’s picking up the tab for the whole process? Taxpayers.

      The expense continues once the person is booked. Taxpayers are also on the hook for the costs of a prosecutor, jail, and often a defense lawyer.

      Haven for Hope in San Antonio officially opened in 2010. In its first year of operation, there were about 5,000 fewer jail bookings compared to the previous year. City and county officials there have estimated that by diverting serial public inebriates from their detention facility, it could realize annual cost savings of more than $2 million.

      Leonard Kincaid, operations director of the Houston Recovery Center, says Sobriety Centers are a simple solution to a big problem. “It takes our officers about 10 minutes to drop a client off at a Sobriety Center,” Kincaid told my office. “But, if officers arrest the person and take them to jail, that’s about two hours.” According to the Houston Chronicle, it costs $1.5 million to run the center compared to the $4 to $6 million it costs Houston to process public intoxication cases.

      Travis County has been considering this solution for more than a decade and there are currently discussions about making a Sobriety Center here a reality.

      Sobriety Centers are not the entire solution, though.

      We also need to continue increasing mental health beds and behavioral and mental health treatment. Here in the Austin/Travis County area, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimate of homeless for 2013 was 6,339 individuals. Travis County is currently in the middle of a pilot program that is identifying and assisting people who cycle in and out of our county jail and emergency rooms. Many of these offenders are homeless or mentally ill. According to Travis County’s Criminal Justice Planning department, “Historically, the most common offenses found during evaluation of arrests and bookings for homeless, mentally ill individuals, have been public intoxication and criminal trespass.”

      We must stop this costly cycle.

      A 2009 Travis County study estimated it would cost about $1.2 million to start the sobriety center. In the long run, getting serious about establishing a Sobriety Center could potentially save taxpayers millions of dollars.

      Let’s put additional resources up front for behavioral and mental health care. Let’s divert people from our criminal justice system and help them get treatment where it makes sense. Let’s take some of the pressure off our jail and hospital emergency rooms. And let’s allow our officers to serve our city and protect our neighborhoods in effective ways that keep us all safe.

        Andy Brown Fellow Spotlight: Jeanette Lachman

        imageMeet Andy Brown for County Judge Campaign Fellow Jeanette Lachman a Government Major at UT – Austin.

        What made you get involved in politics?
        Well, I think everyone should be involved in politics, not just the government majors. As a resident of whatever town or city, you have an obligation to your community, and yourself to be involved. The best way to strive for a better life is to work with other individuals, hear them out and come up with a compromise. We all have ideas on how to best serve our community and politics allows you the chance to express this, even through simple means of voting.

        What have you enjoyed most about working on Andy Brown’s campaign?
        I love meeting all the people involved in the campaign! Their hard work and dedication is inspiring! There are great discussions about current events, politics and there’s a constant positive outlook on how to make better changes for the future! Also, this is my first campaign! It’s great to see how it all works behind the scenes.

        Why do you support Andy Brown for County Judge?
        I really appreciate how Andy Brown has spent years working in the trenches with all the different kinds of people in Travis County. I feel that he would do a good job representing the county in bringing people together to come up with solutions to make Austin the best city it can be.

          The Leader We Need

          By: Jim Hightower

          Ever wonder why the overwhelming majority of elected Democrats in Travis County support Andy Brown? Well, here’s why. Andy’s spent his life fighting -and winning - battles against big corporate interests and the interests they support. He’s a progressive, and he’s a good one.

          Andy’s fought for women’s rights, for economic fairness, for the environment, and for social justice. He’s not afraid to take a stand and get the job done. Good judgement. Good values. He’s on our side. Chip in a few bucks to let Andy know you are on his side!

          Andy’s not just winning endorsements from current and former Democratic leaders, labor unions, teachers, and public safety associations. He’s also winning endorsements from activists in Democratic clubs all over the county. Endorsement season is just getting started, but he’s already won Stonewall DemocratsCircle C Area DemocratsNortheast Travis County Democrats, and North by Northwest Democrats.

          Take a look at this video to see for yourself:

          AB Endorsements Video

            Join Team Andy at a Candidate Forum

            One of my favorite parts of campaigning for Travis County Judge is the opportunity to share my views and ideas with folks all around the county. I believe our government works best when it is fully accessible. My opponent and I have already met at five separate forums, but there are plenty more in case you missed out!

            I hope you will join me at one of the many upcoming forums:

            Circle C Area Democrats Forum, 1/13/14 at 6:30pm
            Santa Rita Cantina, 5900 West Slaughter Lane

            Lake Travis Democrats Cavalcade of Candidates, 1/14/14 at 6:30pm
            1938 Lohmans Crossing Road

            Hamilton Pool Road Forum, 1/18/14 at 4pm
            Bee Cave City Hall, 4000 Galleria Parkway

            North Shore Democrats Potluck, 1/19/14 at 4pm
            2601 American Drive Lago Vista, TX

            NW Austin Coalition Forum, 1/27/14 at 6:30pm
            Spicewood Springs Library, 8637 Spicewood Springs Road

            Travis County Democratic Club Multi-club Endorsement Forum, 1/30/14 at 6:00pm
            Millenium Youth Entertainment Complex, 1156 Hargrave Street

            Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods Forum, 2/12/14, 7pm
            ACC Pinnacle Campus, 7748 Hwy 290 West

            If you are still undecided in this race, I invite you to come see the difference. I’m the only candidate with twenty years of experience bringing people together to stand up for progressive ideals like transparency and accountability, transportation solutions, protecting our environment, and behavioral and mental health treatment.

              Hope for the Holidays

              I want to take a moment to wish you and yours a very safe and happy holiday season!

              It’s during this season that I believe it is especially important to reflect on how our community treats those who face challenges in their lives, or those who are less fortunate. There is so much more we can do to help those in need.

              Haven for Hope

              Last week, a group of us visited Haven for Hope in San Antonio to further explore the sobriety center concept and behavioral health treatment options for Austin and Travis County. What we found was a wonderful facility that not only adds much needed treatment options, but also helped reduce the Bexar County jail population by over 700 inmates since its inception in 2010. This is exactly the kind of forward-thinking policy that we need here in Austin and Travis County.

              This visit underscores not only the need for such a facility here, but is also a strong reminder that there are a thousands of people living in uncertain housing situations, in shelters, and on the streets of Austin and Travis County. Many of these people could end up in our county jail when what they need instead is a little help getting back on their feet.

              I look forward to talking more about this idea over the coming weeks.

              I also want to give you some great news about my campaign for Travis County Judge. I am very grateful to have recently been endorsed by three critical pillars in the Democratic community:

              - Austin Central Labor Council, representing thousands of union workers
              - Education Austin, representing thousands of teachers
              - Stonewall Democrats of Austin, representing the LGBT community

              Along with Congressman Doggett, Senator Watson, Representative Dawnna Dukes, Representative Eddie Rodriguez, Jim Hightower, Dr. Sarah Weddington, and many others, the trust that these groups have placed in me means a great deal. I will work tirelessly to fulfill that trust.

              I hope you have a great holiday!