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Helping you make sense of this year's local and statewide elections

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Image via Flickr/Keith Ivey (CC BY-NC 2.0)
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While local elections don’t always get the same level of interest as national and statewide races, these outcomes have the most direct impact on everyday citizens in areas including transportation, education, development and public works.

This year – in addition to voting for statewide offices – Central Texans are selecting Austin’s new mayor and Austin City Council members in five districts, school board members in Hays, Travis and Williamson counties, and deciding many other races down the ballot.

There’s plenty of confusion, misinformation and disinformation out there, but the KUT newsroom is working hard to help you make sense of the issues and candidates.

We checked in with KUT News managing editor Ben Philpott to learn about the newsroom’s election coverage plans and what you can expect as we close in on Nov. 8.

“As an independent, community-supported newsroom, we’re focused on providing the information you need to be an educated voter so you can make informed decisions in the voting booth,” says Philpott.

Our digital team, led by Stephanie Federico, is making KUT.org your trusted online source for all you need to know to be an engaged citizen, from voter guides for Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties, to footage from city council forums, to job descriptions for elected offices. Sign up for the KUT Daily News newsletter so you don't miss a beat.

Hays, Travis and Williamson County School Board Races

“No other Central Texas newsroom will deliver the level of in-depth school board coverage that KUT is developing,” says Philpott. “Most people don’t really focus on school board races until they enter the voting booth, but these elected officials make important decisions about how local schools are run.”

The newsroom is planning a weeklong school board reporting series for the week of Oct. 17. One of the stories – being reported by KUT News’ Williamson County reporter Kailey Hunt – will examine the influx of money pouring into races from far-right-leaning political action committees.

Education reporter Becky Fogel will do a deep dive on what school board members actually do and their impact on local schools. We’ll publish those job descriptions for you on KUT.org.

Our digital team is producing a voter guide for the individual school board races in all three counties, outlining the candidates running, where they stand on key issues and more.

City Council and Austin Mayoral Races

Mayor Steve Adler has reached his term limit and cannot run for re-election, giving Austinites the chance to select his successor. In addition to the race for a new mayor, five of Austin’s 10 City Council districts are up for re-election (find your council district here).

We’re collaborating with the “Austin Monitor” on a mayoral forum and a series of city council forums so you can hear first-hand how the candidates plan to address some of our community’s most pressing issues.

The mayoral candidate forum is 6 p.m., this Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the Long Center. KUT News reporter Audrey McGlinchy will co-moderate the panel, along with “Austin Monitor” Editor Elizabeth Pagano. If you can’t make the forum, watch KUT.org Thursday morning for key take-aways from the discussion.

The city council candidate forums will be held via Zoom at noon each weekday the week of Oct. 17 (schedule here). You can watch the forums live on KUT.org or on our YouTube page; we’ll have recordings available if you can’t join us live. Have a question for the city council candidates? Submit them here.

“Our digital team is publishing mayoral and city council race voter guides on KUT.org and our on-going city council race coverage will look at how these candidates talk about housing – specifically homelessness and affordability,” says Philpott.

Live Election Night Coverage

On Nov. 8, KUT 90.5 will break from its regular programming to bring you live coverage of local and statewide elections, as well as NPR coverage of elections across the country.

At 7 p.m., KUT 90.5 will air a special election-focused edition of “Texas Standard” where journalists from across The Texas Newsroom will report on statewide races – from to the agriculture commissioner to the governor.

From 8 p.m. to midnight, KUT 90.5 will air KUT News coverage of local and statewide elections, and NPR’s coverage of elections in other states, which may preview what’s to come in 2024.

The following morning, we’ll recap local and statewide results – with context – in a special edition of the KUT News Daily newsletter (if you’re not subscribed to our weekday evening newsletter, you’re missing out).

Make KUT 90.5 and KUT.org your trusted, go-to sources for making sense of the issues and candidates.

Important Dates

Oct. 5 Austin Mayoral Candidate Forum

Oct. 6 Party for the People candidate hangout and happy hour

Oct 11 Last day to register to vote

Week of Oct. 17 City Council forums

Week of Oct. 17 weeklong series on Central Texas school board races

Week of Oct. 17 weeklong series on life in post-Roe Texas

Oct. 24 Early voting begins

Oct. 28 Last day to apply to vote by mail

Nov. 4 Early voting ends

Nov. 8 Election Night coverage, 7 p.m. until midnight