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Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

A federal judge has rejected a race-based challenge to the way Texans fill seats on the state’s highest courts.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi handed the state of Texas a win Wednesday, writing that its current method for electing judges to the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals does not violate federal safeguards for voters of color.

In a troubling sign for Republicans less than two months before November's elections, Democrats' advantage on the question of which party Americans are more likely to vote for in November is ballooning, according to a new NPR/Marist poll.

PBS News Hour screenshot

In his first major political speech in the U.S. since leaving office, former President Barack Obama argued that Americans must rebuke President Trump at the polls this November.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Election administrators should use “human-readable paper ballots" by the 2020 presidential race, experts convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine warned in a new report

After Russian hackers meddled in the 2016 elections, the academies convened a group of computer science and cybersecurity experts – as well as legal and election scholars and officials – to come up with recommendations for the next presidential election.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

"Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. "

Versions of that saying have been attributed to different people throughout history, but they all carry the same basic meaning: We have a lot to learn from where we have already been. The new director of the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin believes the tumultuous year of 1968 holds many lessons for today.

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continue today.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas Democrats see an opening during this year’s midterm election. They are hoping to pick up seats in Congress that they haven’t won in a long time, as well as a slew of seats down the ballot. To do that, though, the party will have to get Latinos in Texas – who don’t often go to the polls – to vote in higher numbers.

Montinique Monroe for KUT / Julia Reihs, KUT

The traditional start of the election season is Labor Day – but it feels like everyone has been campaigning for about four years now. Part of that could be the current state of politics. The large crop of 2016 presidential hopefuls kicked off their campaigns way back in 2014 – if not earlier. The race for 2018 began about 20 seconds after Donald Trump was declared the next president. And let's be honest, the race for 2020 has already begun.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas Republicans are facing what could be one of the most serious challenges from Democrats in recent history – and Hispanic voters could be part of that challenge.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Hundreds of community activists from across Texas gathered on the steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday to call on Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation to overhaul the criminal justice system here.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Laura Buckman

Lupe Valdez, the Democratic candidate for governor, has agreed to debate the Republican incumbent, Greg Abbott, on Sept. 28 in Austin, ending weeks of uncertainty over whether the two would face off.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon (left) / Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday challenged Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera to a debate over immigration.

Doug Young/Michale Stravato

Just as the fall television ad wars are about to begin, a new NBC News/Marist poll of Texas registered voters shows a tight U.S. Senate race between U.S. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso.

Updated at 11:57 a.m. ET

Less than 24 hours after Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal counts — ranging from tax evasion to campaign finance violations — Donald Trump's longtime attorney and fixer brushed aside the possibility of a pardon. In fact, Cohen's own lawyer, Lanny Davis, said his client would outright reject one if it were granted.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

A federal appeals court is upholding a decision to dismiss a challenge to a 2015 Texas law allowing licensed handgun owners to carry concealed weapons in most places on public college campuses. Three UT-Austin professors brought the lawsuit, arguing it violated their constitutional rights — mainly that it has a chilling effect on free speech by introducing guns into a classroom setting.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

With another major election around the corner and continued threats of Russian hacking, state and local election officials in Texas are focused on making voter registration databases in the state more secure.

“Where there could potentially be vulnerabilities is in the voter registration database – which is connected to the internet,” said Sam Taylor, a spokesperson for the Texas Secretary of State’s office.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Travis County Commissioners Court approved an $8 million contract for a slate of new voting machines that local officials have said are more secure and create a paper trail.

During a meeting Tuesday with commissioners, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said voters have been asking for a paper record of their votes for years.

“We are finally going to get this to them,” she said.

Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

A special Texas Senate committee devoted to fighting school violence has recommended improving mental health resources for students and increasing funding for a program that arms some members of school staff, but shied away from any measures aiming to limit access to guns.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Roughly a third of Texas high schools have requested voter registration forms from the Texas Secretary of State’s office, a new report from the Texas Civil Rights Project finds.

Requesting forms from the state agency is the first step schools must take so they can register students to vote. Texas law requires schools to give eligible students these forms at least twice each school year.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas election officials have been removing more people from the state’s voter rolls ever since the Supreme Court struck down a part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice.

The group says the court’s decision to specifically strike down one provision of the law led to the rise in voter purges.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

President Trump denied a CNN report that he knew in advance that his son Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign officials planned to meet with a group of Russians in June 2016 who said they had dirt on 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

In a tweet Friday morning, Trump wrote "I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don Jr."

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has challenged Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke to five topical debates before Election Day, about three months after O'Rourke challenged Cruz to six.

As condemnation of the summit between Trump and Putin mounts in Washington, we head to rural Texas to hear how Trump supporters in Burnet County are reacting to criticism of the president.


Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Over the last month, thousands of people have rallied in Austin and across the country to protest the Trump administration’s so-called zero-tolerance immigration policy, which has left thousands of migrant children separated from their parents after attempting to cross the U.S. border.

Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down for a summit today in in Helsinki, Finland.

This is the first stand-alone summit between the two leaders, and comes just days after an American grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on charges related to Russia's interference in the 2016 election. The two leaders are holding a news conference following their meetings.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) says he raised a massive $10.4 million between April and June for his campaign to unseat Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

The sum brings O’Rourke’s total raised since he began his campaign to more than $23 million. He ended the first quarter of 2018 with more than $8 million in cash on hand.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott has accepted an invitation from a TV station group to debate Democratic opponent Lupe Valdez on Sept. 28 in Austin — and she says she's "in" but doesn't sound sold on the specifics yet.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Ken Paxton is taking on the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The embattled watchdog agency – which was established in the wake of the financial crisis to police financial service providers – is seeking penalties against Mississippi-based payday lender All American Check Cashing, alleging it misled customers.

Paxton and 13 other states filed a brief arguing the CFPB doesn't have constitutional authority to levy penalties.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas Democrats are campaigning on the issue of how lawmakers draw political maps ahead of the 2018 elections. They say partisan gerrymandering is solely a state issue right now, because the U.S. Supreme Court didn't rule this term on whether the practice is legal.    

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