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Political news

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.

Urban Betty owner Chelle Neff plans to close both salon locations on Election Day to give her staff time to vote. "It's more important now than ever," she says.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Leading up to Election Day, KUT is showcasing different perspectives from Central Texas voters.

For Chelle Neff, owner of Urban Betty hair salon in Austin, the coronavirus pandemic is the scariest experience her business has faced in its 16 years of operation.

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.

The Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown
Michael Minasi / KUT

Early voting began Tuesday in Texas and already 21% of Williamson County’s registered voters have cast a ballot.

Travis County residents hand delivery mail-in ballots at the Travis County Tax Office on Airport Boulevard. Gov. Greg Abbott has limited Texas counties to only one drop-off location.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Throughout American history judges have generally tried to avoid getting involved in political questions, including litigation about elections. They followed Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter’s famous advice to avoid “embroilment” in “the political thicket” of “party contests and party interests.”

The Travis County Tax Office at 5501 Airport Blvd is now the only drive-thru location open for hand delivery of mail-in ballots in the county.
Amna Ijaz / The Texas Tribune

A Travis County judge on Thursday ruled that Texas counties can have multiple drop-off locations for hand delivery of absentee ballots, overriding Gov. Greg Abbott's recent directive limiting counties to one drop-off location. But it remains unclear if state District Judge Tim Sulak's decision will lead to the reopening of ballot drop-off locations that were shut down in Harris and Travis counties after Abbott's order.

Travis County residents line up to vote at the Southpark Meadows shopping center on the first day of early voting.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

About 11% of registered voters in Travis County voted by the first two days of early voting in Texas.

That’s more than 95,000 mail-in and in-person ballots cast, which is thousands more than what had been cast at this point during the 2016 presidential election.

Early voting runs until Oct. 30 in Texas.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If you live in Lee County, here are the races that could appear on your ballot in the 2020 general election. Residents of other counties can find their voter guides here.

Many Texans who were hoping to vote by mail during this election are instead having to vote in person.

So far, about a million Texans have cast a ballot during the state's extended early voting period, which started Tuesday.

Texans were put into this position thanks to a confluence of events that includes the solidly Republican state becoming more competitive and the nation's federal courts becoming more conservative.

Voting buttons and pens.
Julia Reihs / KUT

If you live in Caldwell County, here are the races that could appear on your ballot in the 2020 general election. Residents of other counties can find their voter guides here.

Central Texans wait in line to vote Oct. 13.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

If you live in Burnet County, here are the races that could appear on your ballot in the 2020 general election. Residents of other counties can find their voter guides here.

Voters line up outside a polling center at the Southpark Meadows shopping center on the first day of early voting in the 2020 general election.
Gabriel C. Pérez

First things first: Most votes don't get counted until Election Day. To be even more clear, those votes aren’t counted until the polls close that evening.

Abortion-rights supporters confront anti-abortion protesters at a Rally for Life in downtown Austin in 2018.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a Texas law banning the most common procedure for second-trimester abortions.

Voting sign.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

If you live in Bastrop County, here are the races that could appear on your ballot in the 2020 general election. Residents of other counties can find their voter guides here.

Updated at 2:33 p.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee held its fourth and final day of hearings on Thursday on President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Barrett, 48, would replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the high court.

Voters wait in line at the Northwest Recreation Center in Austin to cast ballots Tuesday, the first day of early voting.
Julia Reihs / KUT

It's the first day for early voting in Texas for the 2020 general election. Voters can cast ballots in person today through Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 3.

Austin voters wear masks during the primary runoff elections in July.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Early voting in the 2020 general election begins Tuesday. The coronavirus pandemic has led to some changes to the voting process, but many of the basics remain the same.

Voters deliver their mail-in ballots in Travis County.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Texas voters head to the polls this month to cast their vote for U.S. president and many other federal, state and local leaders.

KUT's Audrey McGlinchy (top middle) moderates a candidate forum with (clockwise): Dee Harrison, Jimmy Flannigan, Mackenzie Kelly and Jennifer Mushtaler.
Screenshot via YouTube

KUT and the Austin Monitor held a series of forums over the past few weeks with candidates running for Austin City Council. Not everyone can watch an hour-long forum, though, so we picked three big questions from the event and are providing text of the candidates' answers here. 

There are four candidates running for the seat in District 6, which represents Northwest Austin: Dee Harrison, Jennifer Mushtaler, Mackenzie Kelly and Jimmy Flannigan (the incumbent).

Early voting runs until Oct. 30 in Texas.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Hays County has about 150,000 registered voters who could participate in the 2020 general election. In addition to voting on the next president, Hays County voters have the chance to decide on a number of state and local races.

KUT's Audrey McGlinchy (top left) moderates a candidate forum with (clockwise): Casey Ramos, Alex Strenger, David Chincanchan and Vanessa Fuentes.
Screenshot via YouTube

Lee esta historia en español. 

KUT and the Austin Monitor held a series of forums over the past few weeks with candidates running for Austin City Council. Not everyone can watch an hour-long forum, though, so we picked three big questions from the event and are providing text of the candidates' answers here. 

The Austin Monitor's Elizabeth Pagano moderates a forum with Leslie Pool (right) and Morgan Witt (bottom).
Screenshot via YouTube

Lee esta historia en español. 

KUT and the Austin Monitor held a series of forums over the past few weeks with candidates running for Austin City Council. Not everyone can watch an hour-long forum, though, so we picked three big questions from the event and are providing text of the candidates' answers here. 

Williamson County has 19 early voting locations and will have 57 locations on Election Day.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Early voting kicks off in Texas on Tuesday. In Williamson County, a record number of eligible residents — more than 372,000 — registered to vote. The county expects to see 66% of them vote early this year.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Early voting officially begins in Texas on Tuesday and runs through Oct. 30. In addition to the presidential election, Travis County voters have the chance to weigh in on a number of local and state races. Those in Austin have some transportation measures to decide as well.

Screenshot via YouTube

Lee esta historia en español. 

KUT and the Austin Monitor held a series of forums over the past few weeks with candidates running for Austin City Council. Not everyone can watch an hour-long forum, though, so we picked three big questions from each event and are providing text of the candidates' answers here. 

A form voters must fill out to drop off a mail-in ballot.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Travis County election officials say they expect to receive 100,000 ballots by mail for the 2020 general election – about four times the usual number for an election like this. Here's how to make sure your ballot makes it through the process.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas counties are currently blocked from setting up multiple drop-off locations for absentee ballots heading into the Nov. 3 general election due to a temporary order from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The order came hours after top Texas officials on Saturday again sought to limit drop-off locations some voters use during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hays County Courthouse.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

If you live in Hays County, here are the races that could appear on your ballot in the 2020 general election. Residents of other counties can find their voter guides here.  

A sign notifies people where they can vote.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

If you live in Williamson County, here are the races that could appear on your ballot in the 2020 General Election. Residents of other counties can find their voter guides here.

A voter leaves Ben Hur Shrine after casting a ballot during the primary runoff elections in July.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Part four in a four-part series on the 2020 fight for control of the Texas House

KUT’s Ashley Lopez explains why it’s hard to predict whether Democrats will succeed in flipping the Texas House. Like everything else, the pandemic has complicated things. Changes to voting have made it hard to predict how people will vote – or if they will vote at all. 

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