Standard operating procedure for candidates seeking any local political office is to involve themselves in all things “political” during their election season. What is not as common is seeing candidates devote time and resources to elections taking place a year or more ahead of their own election run. That’s what former Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins is doing currently—seeking to maximize turnout for the November 2022 midterm elections.
But don’t ask for the initiative’s name.
“We haven’t even put a name to it,” said Hollins. “We are trying to do everything that we can to make sure that folks in the Houston area are using the voice that they have through their constitutional right to vote, to get out and choose the next generation of leadership for this community, for this state, and for this country.”
Hollins facilitated record voter turnout during the Nov. 2020 presidential election that had to contend with COVID and state voter suppression efforts.
“When I served as county clerk, we brought so many innovations in and did everything that we could to make voting safe and accessible to the people of Houston and Harris County. These midterms coming up… are the first elections that we’ve had since the Texas legislature rolled back key reforms that we put in place during my tenure as Harris County clerk.”
Hollins contents that because Harris County remained the third largest county in America, what happens here can send ripples across Texas and the US.
“And although I’m not serving as your officer anymore, I’m more committed than ever to increasing voter participation because it is that important. These elections are too important for me to sit on the sidelines. I believe that it’s our obligation to this city’s progress to ensure that folks remain engaged in our democracy.”
Hollins says his name not being on the Nov. 2022 ballot makes no difference.
“It’s not typical for career politicians to be involved in turnout for elections where their name isn’t on the ballot. But that’s a problem for us to achieve our aspirations as this great city of Houston. We need partners at the state level. We need partners at the federal level. We need partners in Harris County who are operating in good faith, for the betterment of Houstonians. And we’re not going to get that by happenstance. We get that by getting involved in the process and getting off the sidelines.”
Hollins said he’d welcome other candidates on the 2023 ballot to get involved now.
“I think it’s incumbent upon us as leaders to be waving the flag about the importance of democracy, especially when our democratic rights are being attacked. Especially when women’s reproductive freedoms are being attacked. Especially when folks at the state level are limiting the history that our kids have access to in their schools.”
Hollins is involving himself in the November midterms in three ways: helping fund 2 Million Texans, an organization that helps users of its app to encourage directly persons in their networks (family and friends) to get out and vote, and training people on the use of that app; opening his law office as the northwest headquarters of the Harris County Democratic Party to hold phone banks and block walks; and endorsing candidates up for election now.
“I’m proudly endorsing Lina Hidalgo for County Judge, Adrian Garcia for County Commissioner, Leslie Briones for county commissioner, because again, we are going to need that partnership at the county level.”