After initially being denied a ballot, Brigid Shea's son Eamon Umphress, took advantage of the start of Early Voting and cast a ballot with his mom and dad in the Democratic Primary this morning. This marks the first election Eamon has been able to vote in since turning 18 and registering to vote late last year. In an unusual turn of events, both Shea's husband John and Eamon were initially denied ballots, being told they weren't registered to vote when a scan of their DPS issued ID's did not bring up their voter registration information. This incident has been reported to the Travis County Voter Registrar, Dana Debeauvoir, who is investigating it.
In response to her son being denied a ballot, Shea asked if the poll workers would mind checking again. “I registered him (Eamon) and I hand carried the application form to the voter registrar office myself. I know he is registered.” After hand entering Shea's son and husbands information, poll workers located the records in question and provided ballots.Shea believes this is a perfect example of why self-advocacy and persistence are important when voting. “Had we not asked to double check by hand entering, my son may have been unfairly denied access to his ballot. We need to make voting easier, not more difficult. I hope people learn from this experience and know that they can insist that they be able to vote.”
Despite the difficulties Shea said the experience of having her son vote for her in his first election was an event she won't soon forget. “When I realized my son was going to vote for me (I finally won him over) for his first time voting, I actually got a little teary eyed.” For his part, Eamon said he thought voting was, “pretty cool.”
If you experience any trouble we encourage you to contact the Travis County Voter Registrars office as soon as possible by calling (512) 854-9473.
The Author is a Paid Staff Member for Brigid Shea