2013 Election

Civic Life
7:59 am
Fri November 8, 2013

The Life of the Civic Party: Austin-Based Institute Works to Get People More Involved

Some people prefer to keep their distance from politics, the Capitol, and civic life. A conference this weekend is one of many efforts try and get people more comfortable with participating.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Voting in elections. Volunteering. Calling up elected officials. All ways to be civically involved. All things that Texans don't exactly do in large numbers.

A study earlier this year by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin found Texas ranks near the bottom on almost every aspect of civic engagement. The state's civic health is bad. The Institute is gathering people together Saturday, Nov. 9, to try to come up with some good medicine.

Institute Director Regina Lawrence talked with KUT's Jennifer Stayton before the conference about how to best get people off the civic sidelines and into the game:

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Election 2013
7:23 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Texas Voters Approve All 9 State Constitutional Amendments

Proposition 6 creating a bank for state water infrastructure projects, attracted the most attention among constitutional amendments.

Texas voters approved all nine state constitutional amendments on the November ballot.

The issue that received the most attention was Proposition 6. It creates a new water fund with two billion dollars from the state’s Rainy Day fund.

Propositions 1 and 4 cut property taxes for disabled veterans or their surviving spouse.

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Election 2013
11:09 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

HD 50 Special Election Headed for a January Runoff (Update)

Dr. Mike VanDeWalle could be headed towards a run-off against Democrat Celia Israel who leads Democrats with 31 percent in early voting numbers.
Ben Philpott for KUT News

Update: Mike VanDeWalle lead a crowded field in the race to finish out Mark Strama's (D-Austin) term as State Representative. But the local chiropractor only hovered around 40 percent of the vote.

VanDeWalle was the only Republican in the race. So even though he came in first he’s still easily trails the cumulative Democratic vote. That’s something VanDeWalle knows his team will have to address during the runoff.

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Proposition 6
10:05 am
Tue November 5, 2013

If Proposition 6 Passes, What Comes Next for Water in Texas?

Measures such as the Water Development Board, a State Water Plan and a potential draw down of funds from the Rainy Day Fund will expand future conservation efforts in Texas.
Reshma Kirpalani for KUT News

When voters go to the polls this year, many of them will have only as much information about the constitutional amendments they’re voting on as is provided on the ballot.

That is to say, not much at all, especially when it comes to the major item on the list, Proposition 6.

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Election Day
5:58 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Three Ways Voter ID Could Affect You This Election Day

This election day is the first featuring Texas' new voter I.D. law.
Photo by KUT News

It’s Election Day and, if you didn’t vote early, today is your final chance to cast a ballot on nine proposed state constitutional amendments, along with a few local elections.

This election is also the first one with the state’s new voter ID law in place.

For Agenda Texas, KUT's Ben Philpott breaks down what you should expect at the polls this Election Day.

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Election
3:57 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Election Day Forecast: Voter Turnout, ID Law and Thunderstorms

Tomorrow is Election Day. Are you ready?
Photo by KUT News

Tomorrow is Election Day, and in addition to the much-publicized voter I.D. law, a weather forecast of thunderstorms tomorrow and recent flooding events could hurt voter turnout. Some voters have also expressed concern about the need to sign an affidavit if the name on their photo I.D. does not exactly match the name on their voter registration.

Some worry that the affidavit is one more hoop to jump through in order to get to the vote itself. Travis County Clerk, Dana Debeauvoir, told KUT News the voter I.D. law and affidavits may throw off some voters at the polls, which requires voters to initial next to their names as proof of identification.

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Election
7:37 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Early Voting Underway: What Voters Need to Know for the Nov. 5 Election (Update)

The Travis County Clerk's office has launched a campaign, "Keep Calm and Vote On", to educate voters on the new voter ID law.
KeepCalmVoteOn.org

Updated Friday, November 1 at 7:37am: Early voting ends today for the Nov. 5 election.

There are 19 early voting locations in Travis County and several mobile locations.

What's On the Ballot:

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Affordable Housing
10:42 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Are Bonds Austin's Best Way to Support Affordable Housing?

If approved, a $65 million bond proposition would go toward building, renovating and funding affordable housing projects.
flickr.com/dragontomato

This November, Austinites are being asked to approve a $65 million affordable housing bond. The money would go toward building and renovating affordable housing projects; purchasing land to build affordable housing on; and funding of ongoing affordable housing initiatives. You can see a sample ballot here.

But it was just one year ago that voters rejected a similar bond proposition.

With that recent loss, some have asked whether issuing tax-supported municipal bonds is the best way to fund affordability in Austin.

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Politics
1:57 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Meet the Candidates in HD 50 Special Election

Along with constitutional amendments, voters in Northeast Travis County have a special election for House District 50.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The early retirement of former State Rep. Mark Strama, who's now heading Google Fiber's operations in Austin, means we're going to have a special election on November 5th to pick someone to fill out the rest of Strama's term.

Strama's term ends January 2015, which means the winner of the special election will also have to win the 2014 March primary and November General Election as well if they want to represent Central Texas in the 2015 Legislative session.

So to help you decide who gets your vote, we've put together a short bio of each candidate, including endorsements and top campaign issues.

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Agenda Texas
10:17 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Texans Could Vote to Help Cut Veterans' Property Taxes

Voters could give property tax breaks to soldiers and their families on November 5th.
Photo by KUT News

When Texans go to the polls beginning Monday, they’ll have the chance to vote on nine constitutional propositions. Two of them would cut property taxes for disabled veterans or their surviving spouse. 

Both propositions have their origins in an oversight and look to tweak current laws to give returning Texas veterans and their families property tax breaks.

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Agenda Texas
8:00 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Expanding Reverse Mortgages on November Ballot

Proposition 5 would let Sr's purchase homes with a reverse mortgage.
Ben Philpott

Texans head to the polls later this month to vote on constitutional amendment propositions. Though water funding is receiving the most attention, there are 8 others to consider, including one that expands the use of what’s called a reverse mortgage in Texas.

A reverse mortgage is a financial tool that allows senior citizens to receive equity payments each month while staying in their home. The reverse mortgage is paid back, with interest, only after the house is sold when the owner either moves out or dies.

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Politics
3:28 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Only Days Left for Texans to Register to Vote This November

Melinda Avey is a Geographic Information System coordinator for Travis County. She was helping people register to vote on the UT campus on Oct. 3, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

The last chance to register to vote in the Nov. 5 election is Monday. And there’s another wrinkle for some: This is the first statewide election that requires voters to show photo ID. 

If you don’t have one of six approved government-issued photo IDs to bring with you to vote on Nov. 5, you can get an election ID certificate. I spoke to Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant at a Fiesta supermarket in South Austin, where he was getting the word out near a table set up by Department of Public Safety staff.

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Affordable Housing
8:46 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Learn More About Austin's $65 Million Affordable Housing Vote Tonight

Affordable housing bond dollars would go to new construction, rental assistance, home ownership initiatives and repair programs.
flickr.com/dymllc

A year after voters narrowly rejected the proposal, the Austin City Council is once again asking voters to approve tens of millions of dollars for affordable housing.

The City of Austin will host the first of four community information sessions today about this November’s $65 million affordable housing bond.

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