voter registration

John Harvey/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Texas has a record-breaking 15 million people registered to vote ahead of the November election, the Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday.

Texas has 15,015,700 voters registered according to a preliminary estimate — over 777,000 more than were registered in time for the March primaries. The deadline to register to vote was Tuesday.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

Today is the last possible day to register to vote in Texas. And, if you haven’t gotten around to registering, don't worry. We got you.

Here are some of your options:

If you already have a voter registration form sitting around in your house and you just haven’t mailed it in, make sure you mail it in and get it postmarked by midnight today. 

If you don’t have a form, in-person registration is the way to go. In Austin, you have a lot of spots for that because two local businesses are working with Travis County’s voter registrar to help voters get registered today.

90 Percent of Travis County Is Registered to Vote

Oct 11, 2016
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Travis County reached a voter registration milestone ahead of this year’s presidential election. Local election officials set a goal after the 2012 election to have 90 percent of the county registered. As of yesterday, officials met that goal.

Qiling Wang for KUT

In less than a month, the window for registering for this year’s presidential election will close. That’s why on Tuesday's National Voter Registration Day groups were helping folks all over the city get registered – and that includes people who are blind.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr.

Travis County election officials are introducing a new interactive map that may help voters find the shortest lines at the election polling places in this fall. 

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

With a presidential election a short seven weeks away, voter registration is heated up throughout Travis County. At the University of Texas campus, volunteers are signing up so many voters that sometimes it’s hard for them to keep enough forms on hand.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon/KUT

Despite the excitement and wall-to-wall media coverage of this year’s presidential nominating contests, Texas still had one of the lowest voter participation rates during this year’s primaries – about 21 percent. 

Some Texans are trying to fix this problem by innovating the way we administer elections here in the Lone Star State.

Flickr user: Covernor Rick Perry,

With the November elections just over two months away, Texans around the state are registering or renewing their voter status. That is, if they first have a government-issued identification card.

Texas' voter ID law is currently being challenged in court by the U.S. Department of Justice, but until a decision is reached, Texans will be required to show an ID to register as voters. But what does this mean for voters in rural areas? Or for Texans who mail in their ballots? 

Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry is in charge of informing Texans of the voter ID law and how to register. Berry sits down with Texas Standard host David Brown to discuss the requirements for voter registration, and how to attain a government-issued ID before the November elections.

Early voting starts today for the May 10 municipal elections in cities across Central Texas.

Voters in Bee Cave, Manor, New Braunfels, Round Rock and West Lake Hills are choosing mayors and city council members. Several school districts are also holding bond elections. 

Early voting continues through Tuesday, May 6. Election Day for the municipal elections is Saturday, May 10. A valid photo identification is required to vote in person.

KUT News

Update: Tomorrow is the last day to register to vote in the May election.

If you’ve moved since the last time you voted – you’ll have to register again. In Travis County, you can register in person at one of tax office locations, mail in an application – which are available at post offices and libraries, or update your information online.

KUT News

State officials say a record number of Texans have registered to vote in the November elections. 

As of today, more than 13.6 million people have registered to vote in Texas. That’s about 20,000 more than the last presidential election year in 2008. And it's about 70 percent of voting age Texans.

"We’ve already broken the record," said Alicia Pierce is a spokesperson with the Texas Secretary of State’s office. "And we anticipate having more voters by the end of the week as counties continue to add registered voters who sent in their registration by the October 9th deadline.”

KUT News

Today is the last day in Texas to register to vote in the November election.

In Travis County, you can apply in person at any of the five tax office locations. Or you can mail in your completed form. It must be postmarked by today.

You can find voter registration forms at libraries, post offices and some grocery stores. And Thundercloud Subs is offering voter registration at all of its Austin locations today. You can also complete and print off a voter registration form online.

If you've moved within the same county, you can update your information online without mailing in a new form—the deadline to update your address is also today.

KUT News has received a lot of feedback on “Why Bother,” our series on voter engagement. Suggestions that include ideas for making voting and voter registration easier, personal recollections and more. We expect to hear more tonight, at a taping of “Why Bother? Voices of a New Generation,” in KLRU’s Studio 6a.

But one criticism KUT News has received involves the existing process potential voters need to take to vote – and whether local news organizations, including KUT, have done enough to make that process understandable.

A blog post by a local web designer, A. Lista, questions why KUT is probing voter disengagement when the actual process to voting is itself convoluted. The blog shows step by step what happens when one searches “how to vote austin tx” on Google. Seven screens later, the author says she is “exhausted, frustrated, and pretty annoyed with all the extremely unhelpful government websites:”

Both the local news and KUT have suggested many times that voters are apathetic and unengaged, but like the government, neither has aired simple instruction on how to actually go about voting. How do you know you’re registered? Where do you go to vote? These things are confusing.

Registering to vote in Texas isn’t that easy: one suggestion we’ve heard is that online registration would make things a lot easier. But Texas law requires voter registration cards to be sent in by mail or hand delivered in-person.

KUT News

Could you create a mathematical formula to increase voter turnout?

The idea may sound far-fetched. But Travis County clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has an idea on what it might look like.

“It has to do with how well each voter is connected to their local community,” DeBeauvoir tells KUT News. “For example: Do you own a house? That’s a point. Do you have children in school? That’s a point. All of those add up.  And it turns out that people that have the most points of connection with their community are the people who vote.”

DeBeauvoir notes those variables are “roughly all about how old you are. It takes a while to get connected.” And those factors may have a lot to do with why young Texans are sitting out elections.

Several voter registration events are scheduled around town today for National Voter Registration Day.

The Travis County Tax Office on Airport Boulevard will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to register voters.

The League of Women Voters and the Austin Community College student chapter of Unite Women will help people register to vote on ACC campuses today.

And both the Travis County Republican and Democratic parties are opening up their headquarters to help people register.

Texas lawmakers heard today that there are at least 4,100 people in the Houston area alone that are registered at an address that is not their home.

Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart told the House Elections Committee this morning that many of those people are registered at addresses at places like Mail Boxes Etc. or UPS. The problem is, he says, that these voters then may be casting a ballot in the wrong district.

Stanart said that state law gives voters too much latitude with their registration address  –  which he argued could lead to abuse and fraud.

“A number of people actually saying ‘I’m going to register at this UPS location’ and if a significant number of people actually did something like this, you could actually turn a state rep’s election," Stanart said.

Judy Schmidt, Centers for Disease Control

A good Friday morning. Record high temperatures are still expected today, before a Saturday cold front brings decreased temperatures and an elevated fire risk. Here's some of the area's top overnight stories. 

Most Texas Whooping Cough Deaths Since 2005

The Texas Department of State Health Services says there have been more whooping cough deaths this year than in the past several years. The department says six children in Texas have died from whooping cough (aka pertussis) and more than 1,000 people have gotten sick.

Travis County leads the state in the number of whooping cough cases with 163 as of the end of August – that's about 14 percent of the state total. No one in Travis County has died from the illness. The Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department says it is "highly aggressive" in seeking out whooping cough cases so the numbers could be somewhat misleading. The department works with local health providers to identify whooping cough cases and alert them of clusters of incidents.

KUT News

Program To Help Young Undocumented Immigrants Begins

An Obama administration executive order takes effect today that provides some protection from deportation for young undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria. The order is seen as something of a work around by the administration after Congress failed to pass the so-called DREAM Act earlier this year.

Todos a Votar

A tour to inform and register Latino voters throughout the country kicks off tonight.

The ¡Todos a Votar! (“Let’s Vote!”) tour will travel through California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and  Colorado, before winding its way to Texas. The group will be in Houston in mid-September but has plans to visit more Texas cities.

Tonight the campaign’s first event, a Twitter town hall with the hashtag #voto12, will allow users to chat online about issues effecting Latino voters.

Mose Buchele, KUT News; Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News; Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Fourteen Indicted for Alleged Ties to Drug Cartel

A Central Texas grand jury indicted 14 people with alleged ties to the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas.  The cartel’s leader, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, and two of his brothers were among those indicted.

Federal investigators say the defendants were involved in a money laundering scheme for the cartel involving the horse racing business.

Authorities arrested seven of the indicted individuals on Tuesday. One person was arrested in Austin.