Patrick Donovan

Neighbors are increasing their voter registration efforts as the registration deadline for the 2020 election nears.

Lakewood resident Patrick Donovan spends his nights and weekends making the registration process faster, easier and more accessible for neighbors.

Neighbors who would like to register can request Donovan’s help by emailing patricktdonovan@yahoo.com. He will meet them at their homes or a neutral location and submit their applications directly to the elections department, instead of sending them via the mail.

Last week, Donovan registered voters at an event at Studio 6 Fitness, 7317 Gaston Ave. Studio 6 Fitness is a pilates studio with four Dallas locations. He’s got another event scheduled for this weekend. It will be between the GNC and the H&R Block at the Mockingbird Commons Shopping Center, 6333 E. Mockingbird Lane. The booth will operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The deadline to register is Oct. 5. Find out if you’re registered here.

We talked with Donovan about why he get got involved and the importance of voting.

How did you become a deputy registrar?

I’ve alway looked at registrars as people with superpowers who don’t have to send applications in the mail. I asked around and called the elections department. I reviewed an online PowerPoint and took a 20-question quiz. You can miss two or three. Once you become one, you become super hungry to start helping people.

Do you do this in your spare time?

When someone registers to vote with you, you have five days to turn it in to the elections department. I register people after work and drive them in the morning. I do a lot of shuttling from Lakewood to out past Love Field.

Why did you want to become a deputy registrar?

There are enough Americans who can make the right decision, but I hate to see people look at the process of registering to vote and become disenchanted and disengaged. Our democracy thrives the more voices are included.

How do you make the process easier?

In addition to the red tape of registering, which you can expedite if you’re a registrar, I explain the voter ID laws. Websites are good, but it’s good to have someone to discuss specific scenarios and situations. Younger people move around. Then all of a sudden, it’s time to register, and you realize you’re still registered in Austin. Or you had a job in a different state and got laid off and are back home with your parents. People are in a bind. I reregistered an older woman who moved back in with her daughter. She still has the drive to vote and make a difference.

What coronavirus precautions are you taking?

I get a text and drive out there and ask them if they’d wear a mask. So far, everyone has agreed to wear them. I give them the application and wait and step back 6 feet. I review it and fill out my part. At the end, I offer them hand sanitizer since we’ve shared a pen. You stay home for things that aren’t important, but this is very important.

Early voting begins Oct. 13. Locations can be found here.