Capital Metro held the grand opening of its new Downtown Station on Monday.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

New MetroRail Station Opens In Downtown Austin Months Ahead Of Schedule

Trains rolled into Capital Metro’s new Downtown Station on Monday morning for the first time. The $37 million project beat its expected timeline by six months and came in $3 million under budget, according to officials.

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Valerie Merriam-DeBill helps register people to vote outside the Palmer Events Center on Aug. 12.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

PHOTOS: Life In Austin During The Coronavirus Pandemic

KUT's photographers are documenting the changes to daily life that a pandemic has brought to the Austin area — from a safe distance.

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Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced changes to the debate rules ahead of Thursday's final presidential debate.

Under the new rules, President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will each have two minutes of uninterrupted time to speak at the beginning of every 15-minute segment of the debate.

The Pan de Vida migrant shelter is made up of several small, yellow houses, arranged in a circle around a dusty courtyard.

On a sweltering, late summer afternoon, a Nicaraguan couple, Cesar and Carolina, prepared lunch in the kitchen they share with several other families.

They chopped onions and potatoes amid a flurry of activity. Children raced in and out, and one of their housemates — the shelter’s unofficial beautician — sat nearby, painting another resident’s nails.

Austin Public Health operates a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site off I-35 in North Austin.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Austin Public Health will be administering about 800 free flu shots at two events in the coming weeks.

Texas mail-in ballots require voters to sign the outer envelope.
Charlie Pearce for The Texas Tribune

Texas election officials may continue rejecting mail-in ballots if they decide the signature on the ballot can't be verified, without notifying voters until after the election that their ballot wasn't counted, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

In recent elections, the 10 biggest counties in Texas have moved further to the left than the rest of the Lone Star State. If it were up to those counties alone, Texas would have gone to Hillary Clinton in 2016 instead of Donald Trump, and Beto O'Rourke would have won the 2018 U.S. Senate race. But Texas officeholders have remained solidly Republican.

'Thank You For Voting' Explores Roadblocks To High Voter Turnout

12 hours ago
Julia Reihs/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Early voting turnout has been high in Texas' most populous counties. Not so in other areas, like the Rio Grande Valley.

That's why Erin Geiger Smith, author of the book "Thank You for Voting: The Maddening, Enlightening, Inspiring Truth About Voting in America," says she's cautiously optimistic about turnout this year.

The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear cases that involve the U.S. "Remain in Mexico" policy and the border wall, two of President Trump's most controversial attempts to limit migration across the southern border with Mexico.

The court did not say when it will hear the cases, but arguments are likely to be heard well after the Nov. 3 election. The outcome of next month's presidential election could render both cases moot if Trump loses his reelection bid.

Early voting turnout continues to shatter records, as sky-high voter enthusiasm meets the realities of the United States' creaky machinery of democracy amid a pandemic. That means long lines in some places and administrative errors with some mail ballots, but a system that is working overall, according to experts.

"Despite some of those concerns, things are going at this point reasonably well," said former Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, speaking specifically about the expansion of voting by mail.

Voters in line on the first day of early voting in Texas at Southpark Meadows shopping center in South Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

In normal times, the first day of early voting is usually the busiest day of in-person voting ahead of Election Day.

But these are not normal times.

People are getting the results of coronavirus tests in the U.S. faster than they were in the spring, but testing still takes far too long to help with effective disease control measures such as contact tracing and quarantining, according to the results of a large national survey.

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A seismic shift could take place in Texas this election

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