Voting

Julia Reihs / KUT

Residents in the Greater Austin area ranked high in voter turnout and knowledge of key issues, but have lent less of a helping hand, according to the 2018 Greater Austin Civic Health Index.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Ninety-three percent of eligible voters in Travis County are expected to register to vote by the Oct. 9 deadline, according to the county’s voter registrar. So far, 91 percent of eligible voters have already registered.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

State elections officials are warning people who think they registered to vote through the online service Vote.org that their registrations may not be valid. But Travis County election officials now say the registrations are valid, and that they will process them as they would any other application.

Texas does not have online voter registration. But if Travis County's reading of the law holds up, it could be a loophole that allows for de facto online registration.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

We got a question for our TX Decides project from Victoria, who asked:

I am registered in Bastrop County but am working in D.C. at the moment, is there a way to get a ballot?

The short answer is: Yes. You can vote by mail.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court partially upheld Texas’ political maps in a 5-4 ruling today.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday that it was OK for Ohio to remove people from voter registration rolls if those voters skip a few elections and then fail to respond to a notice from election officials. Ohio claimed this was necessary for the proper upkeep of voter registration lists and to prevent voter fraud.

Republicans have been pushing for such restrictions without much actual evidence of fraud, while Democrats have often seen such moves as attempts to suppress voting. What does the ruling mean for Texas?

Updated 6:34 p.m. ET

An ideologically split U.S. Supreme Court Monday upheld Ohio's controversial "use-it-or-lose-it" voting law by a 5-to-4 margin. The law allows the state to strike voters from the registration rolls if they fail to return a mailed address confirmation form, and don't vote for another four years, or two federal election cycles.

Failure to vote

Ariel Min for The Texas Tribune

The legal fight over whether Texas is disenfranchising thousands of voters by violating a federal voter registration law is on its way to federal appeals court.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Told it was breaking the law, and asked to propose a fix, Texas seems to have mostly declined.

Austin Price/KUT

From Texas Standard.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a long-running Texas redistricting case. The dispute goes back to 2011, when Republicans in the state legislature drew Congressional and state legislative districts in a way designed to favor GOP candidates, and to move as many Democrats as possible into a few other districts.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A federal judge has ordered Texas officials to comply with the National Voter Registration Act and motor voter laws.

The order could affect an estimated 1.5 million Texans.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT'

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has spent more than a decade working with researchers and computer security experts to design a voting machine that’s more secure and reliable.

This massive undertaking resulted in the Secure, Transparent, Auditable, and Reliable Voting System, or STAR-Vote. But getting manufacturers to build it has been a challenge.

Spc. Carlynn Knaak/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

From Texas Standard.

If you were of news-consuming age 17 years ago, when then-Vice President Al Gore and then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush ran for president, you also remember the controversy over counting votes in Florida, and how the most contentious element of that election was a tiny piece of paper called a chad. Republican and Democratic election lawyers argued over which paper ballots in Florida should, and should not be counted, based on “hanging chads” and “pregnant chads” that made the voters intention unclear.

Cheryl Gerber for The Texas Tribune

NEW ORLEANS — State officials and the minority rights groups suing Texas over its strict voter identification restrictions are headed back to court.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on Tuesday over the state's recent revisions to its 2011 voter identification law and whether those changes cure legal issues with the original law. The recent changes — which softened previous voter ID requirements considered among the toughest in the nation — were passed in response to court rulings that the 2011 law discriminated against Hispanic and black voters.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

This Election Day, school bond measures are on the ballot for many communities across Texas. More than 50 school districts are asking voters to approve around $8 billion in bonds. More than $1 billion is for just one school district, Austin ISD. Spring Branch ISD in Harris County is asking for about $900 million.

Joe Smith, a retired superintendent from East Texas who now runs the website Texas ISD, says Texas schools are growing quickly and more bonds would help to build new facilities.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texas' seven constitutional amendments aren't the only thing on the ballot this Election Day. 

Voters across Central Texas will decide the fate of school bond propositions, charter amendments and plenty of city council elections on Nov. 7. Here's a roundup of everything on the upcoming ballot. 

stephenvelasco/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Travis County, home to Austin, has been working to build a better voting system – one that satisfies the need to maintain security and accessibility for voters. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, the chief election official, has been a part of developing the system, called STAR Vote, which would have replaced the current Hart InterCivic eSlate system that has been in use since 2001. That system cost roughly $7 million, and has seen several security augmentations over the years.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

November’s election ballot is packed with lots of local items – from city council races to school bonds – but there are also seven proposals to amend the Texas Constitution.

Laura Skelding / Texas Tribune

A Texas district judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos from handing voter information to President Donald Trump's voter fraud investigation commission.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

The goal of a special legislative session is usually for Texas lawmakers to get stuff done that they didn’t, or couldn’t, during the regular session.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Two months ago, Texas lawmakers quietly did something rare in this statehouse: They sent Gov. Greg Abbott a bill designed to make voting easier for thousands of Texans. Abbott praised that effort and ultimately signed the legislation that, in a rare moment of bipartisanship, both Democrats and Republicans supported.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Brendan Steinhauser, a political strategist living in Austin, uses the state’s voter file all the time.

“The voter file is quite simply a list of voters who are registered to vote,” he says. “You can also obtain their voting history to see if they have voted in past elections.”

stephenvelasco/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When it comes to casting your ballot at the voting booth, we hear this phrase a lot: “Make your vote count.” But in an age where cyberattacks seem to be happening every day around the globe, maybe we should head to the ballot box with another phrase in mind: “Make your vote safe.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A bill was sent to Gov. Greg Abbott last week that would eliminate straight-ticket voting in Texas. But opponents say the legislation could be headed to court.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

From Texas Standard:

If people feel like their votes don't count – three pivotal elections across the state seem to prove otherwise.

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