voting

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Between 16,000 and 17,000 Texans who said they had trouble getting a voter ID were able to sign an affidavit and vote in the last presidential election, thanks to a court order. Now lawmakers want to make it a felony if a voter signing such a form “knowingly makes a false statement or provides false information.”

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Last week some prominent Republicans said Texas should get rid of straight-ticket voting. Texas is one of only 10 states in the U.S. that allow a person to vote once for one political party straight down the ballot.

The Texas Civil Rights Project is asking a judge to penalize the state for not handing over documents in an ongoing federal lawsuit over the state’s motor voter program.

Last March, TCRP sued state officials, alleging state agencies are violating the National Voter Registration Act and the 14th Amendment by treating people who change their driver’s license information online differently than people who change it in person.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

A handful of state lawmakers want the Texas Department of Public Safety to allow you to register vote when getting a driver’s license or ID card, or when updating information, at the DMV. 

Right now, the so-called "motor voter" system works a little differently, depending on whether you do any of this in-person versus online. However, there have been a couple of bills filed for the upcoming legislative session aimed at changing that.

Screenshot via fivethirtyeight.com

From Texas Standard:

One fateful night in 2000 left the nation without a president-elect for over a month: the election between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush was too close to call.

But that didn't stop network news from calling the race wrong – twice. First, many reported that Gore won Florida, then media sites called the electoral college for Bush, as the official campaign results played out in the courtroom.
 


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

From Texas Standard

Something strange happened behind the curtain when Randall County resident Lisa Houlette was casting her ballot in Amarillo. As she described it on Facebook, she voted a straight Republican ticket. But as she scrolled to submit her ballot, she noticed that even though the Republican straight ticket box was highlighted, so was the box for the Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine ticket.

WOCinTech Chat/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

There may be a civic virtue in trying to shame people for not voting – or, at least, shaming people online.

According to a new study from the University of Texas at Austin, guilting your Facebook friends may actually have the effect of getting people to vote.

 


KUT Austin/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

How are undecided Texans gearing up for their presidential pick? This is part two of a series following four voters through the last month before Election Day.


Erik Hersman/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Today's the last day to register to vote in Texas in time for the November election. Some county registrar offices are staying open until midnight to give people as long as possible to complete the process, but most will close at the end of the business day.

In Texas you can check online to see if you're registered, but you can't actually register online and some 3 million Texans are eligible to vote but not registered. Complicating matters, according to a new report in the magazine "The Nation," is a labyrinth of laws putting up barriers so difficult to surmount that nobody wants to invest in helping more voters register.

 


Erik Hersman/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Federal courts aren't showing much love this summer for Texas laws. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the state's 2013 abortion laws impose an undue burden on women, and Wednesday, the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals says the photo ID requirement for Texas voters is asking too much.

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

From Texas Standard: 

The state broke a record for ballots cast in last week's primary. But Texas still fared poorly among other the 12 states that have held primaries, coming in second to only Louisiana in the country's lowest voter turnout so far. Our weak showing was primarily because Democrats didn't really go to the polls – just 7.2 percent of registered Democrats voted. Places like El Paso – a Democratic stronghold – had a remarkably low turnout.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

Latino voter groups say they are seeing an uptick in legal residents applying for citizenship so they can vote in this year’s presidential election.

The organization Mi Familia Vota held citizenship workshops in six different states this year, including Texas. The group says those events are more popular than ever.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

Voters in primary states begin casting ballots for a new president starting next week.   

So far, many of the presidential front-runners owe their success to their ability to appeal to voter frustration and anger, but other voters say the negative feelings fueling this year’s election are an even bigger concern.

Image via Flickr/Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The longest state constitution in the nation is about to get longer. Texan voters passed all seven proposed amendments to the constitution.

One amendment aims to fix a problem most all Texans are familiar with: transportation. The state's growing population might be good for the economy, but hasn't done the roadways many favors.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: With more than 90 percent of all precincts counted, statewide measures aimed at cutting property taxes, boosting funding for road projects and reiterating Texans' right to hunt and fish appeared headed toward easy passage Tuesday evening.

KUT News

Today is National Voter Registration Day. And when it comes to getting people to sign up to vote, the focus is often on young people.


William C. Velasquez Institute

He died young and unexpectedly more than 25 years ago, but his political legacy continues today.

The Texas Legislature and Gov. Rick Perry have designated today, Friday, May 9, as Willie Velasquez Day. A fighter for Latino voting rights across the Southwest,  the late activist died suddenly of cancer in 1988 at the age of 44.

flickr.com/ldcross

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.

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:

President Obama has established a new bipartisan commission on election administration, something he promised to do in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address. He signed an executive order Thursday making it official.

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