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Elections


Taylor council candidates agree city needs to attract businesses. jobs

A real estate company owner and a concrete business’ vice president are running against each other for a place on the Taylor City Council. Gary Gola and Dwayne Ariola are competing for an at-large position left vacant by Taylor Mayor Jesse Ancira Jr., who has decided not to seek re-election. The five council members will choose the next mayor. Both Gola and Ariola said the city needs to attract...


Six vying for three Dripping Springs City Council positions

Six vying for three Dripping Springs City Council positions

A half-dozen candidates — three incumbents and three challengers — are vying for three Dripping Springs City Council at-large positions. As the city grapples with issues of rapid growth, all of the candidates say that tackling those growing pains will be among the greatest challenges for the next council. According to Census Bureau figures, the city’s population increased from 1...
Early voting starts Monday; 5 ballot items to watch

Early voting starts Monday; 5 ballot items to watch

Early voting starts Monday for the May 6 municipal elections that include governments across Central Texas. Some notable elections to watch: Round Rock school bonds While the bonds have the support of the city of Round Rock and the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce, critics say the cost of paying back the debt to businesses and residents is prohibitive. The $572.1 million bond package is split into three...
Transgender bathrooms overshadow Dripping Springs school board race

Transgender bathrooms overshadow Dripping Springs school board race

Three candidates, including two incumbents, are vying for two school board seats in Dripping Springs, where a battle over which bathroom a transgender student should use has overshadowed a typically low-key race. The trio — incumbent Ron Jones, a consultant; incumbent Barbara Stroud, a family law attorney; Trey Powers, a senior mortgage loan officer — said there are far greater challenges...
Seven candidates seek Hays school trustee positions

Seven candidates seek Hays school trustee positions

Hays school district voters in May will not only decide on the largest school bond package in the history of the school district totaling $250 million for new campuses and upgrades, but they’ll also vote on three positions on the board of trustees who will lead a rapidly growing district. Seven candidates are seeking spots for a District 1, District 2 and an at-large trustee position. READ:...

Small corner of Travis County to vote on tax for emergency services

In a tiny, quiet, lakeside corner of far northwestern Travis County, about 700 voters will have a choice this May: to keep their sales tax at 8.25 percent or cut it back to 7.25 percent. But the question won’t be phrased that way on the ballot. Instead, thanks to a quirk of timing, it will simply ask if another penny of every dollar spent in the unincorporated areas surrounding the tiny town...
New Southeast Travis district would raise taxes for fire protection

New Southeast Travis district would raise taxes for fire protection

Southeastern Travis County voters have a choice this spring whether to add a second emergency services district over an existing one — essentially a shortcut to allow taxes to be raised above the legal maximum. Vote yes and emergency services district property taxes in the area will likely double, from an average of $115 per year to an average of $230. Vote no and there might be no immediate...
Georgetown council candidates both seeking office for first time

Georgetown council candidates both seeking office for first time

A software project manager and an educational consultant, both seeking office for the first time, are running against each other for a seat on the Georgetown City Council. David Sray is facing off against Valerie Nicholson for the District 2 seat left vacant by Keith Brainard, who decided not to run for re-election. Nicholson, a 39-year-old education technology consultant for grades K-12 and the co-owner...
Hays ESD No. 6 asking for sales tax hike for new station, equipment

Hays ESD No. 6 asking for sales tax hike for new station, equipment

A quarter-cent sales tax increase that the Hays County Emergency Services District No. 6 would use to fund a new fire station and other equipment will go before voters in the May 6 election. The emergency service district is based in Dripping Springs, but the tax would be levied only in areas outside city limits that haven’t reached the maximum sales tax allowed. That means just the 35,000 or...
Two Cedar Park council members face election challengers

Two Cedar Park council members face election challengers

The owner of a swim coaching business and a registered nurse are running against two incumbents for positions on the Cedar Park City Council. Jon Lux and Lyle Grimes said they are running for re-election to keep working on projects that are contributing to the city’s success. Heather Jefts, who is running against Lux for the Place 5 seat, and Anne Duffy, who is challenging Grimes for the Place...
San Marcos residents to vote on $31.7 million bond package

San Marcos residents to vote on $31.7 million bond package

In just a couple of weeks, San Marcos voters will decide whether to support all or part of a$31.7 million bond package, the city’s first bond referendum in more than a decade. The package on the May 6 ballot has $17.2 million for public safety improvements and $14.5 million for a library expansion. The last time the city held a bond referendum was in 2005 for transportation projects. If both...
Small-business owner challenges two-term City Council incumbent

Small-business owner challenges two-term City Council incumbent

Georgetown City Council Member Rachael Jonrowe is running again for her Place 6 seat against political newcomer Lawrence Romero, a small-business owner and real estate agent. Jonrowe, 40, is seeking her third three-year term. She said she wants to push for the city to be more inclusive by having more affordable housing, listening to the concerns of African-American and Hispanic residents, and connecting...
Georgetown mayor’s race pits incumbent against social activist

Georgetown mayor’s race pits incumbent against social activist

Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross is running for re-election in May against political newcomer Dr. Sherwin Kahn, a retired chiropractor and social activist. Ross is running on his track record as mayor of a town that was the fastest-growing city of its size in the country last year. Kahn said Georgetown has much more room for improvement in race relations and reaching out to the underprivileged. Ross, who...
Lost ballots in Hays County drive calls for change

Lost ballots in Hays County drive calls for change

Hays County elections administrator Jennifer Anderson would like to move on from the Nov. 8 error in which more than 1,800 votes were not tallied, but some county residents still have concerns. Though that issue was not on the agenda for an elections commission meeting Thursday morning, at least half a dozen people came to speak about it. The elections commission rarely convenes, but Anderson called...
Commentary: I voted for the first time in 2016 and why I’ll vote again

Commentary: I voted for the first time in 2016 and why I’ll vote again

Last November, I voted for the first time. I’m 23, and while I was old enough to vote in 2012, I didn’t vote because I didn’t feel I had much at stake. In November, however, I voted because the election felt personal. Some of the people I love most — my girlfriend and my father — are undocumented and I feared that I would be separated from them. Not only did I vote in...
Lawmaker pulls bill to change early voting in Texas

Lawmaker pulls bill to change early voting in Texas

The future of a bill that trims down the early voting period is uncertain after its author withdrew it from committee consideration Monday following logistical concerns from the attorney general’s office and county election officials. House Bill 288, authored by state Rep. Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands, would have shrunk the early voting period from 12 to seven days and pushed it closer to Election...
Commentary: National popular vote ensures every vote counts equally

Commentary: National popular vote ensures every vote counts equally

The Electoral College is a blemish on our representative democracy. While other elections are determined by a simple tally of everyone’s vote, presidential elections segregate votes by state. Presidents are elected not by the people but by Electoral College electors. Each state appoints electors equal to its total number of U.S. House members and senators. In most states the winner of the popular...
States scramble for funding to upgrade aging voting machines

States scramble for funding to upgrade aging voting machines

At least once a year, staffers in one of Texas’ largest election offices scour the web for a relic from a bygone technology era: Zip disks. The advanced version of the floppy disk, which was cutting edge in the mid-1990s, plays a vital role in tallying votes in Bexar County — where, like other places around the U.S., money to replace antiquated voting equipment is scarce. “I&rsquo...
Democrat Mike Collier to challenge Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

Democrat Mike Collier to challenge Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

Democrat Mike Collier announced Thursday that he will run against Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick next year. Collier, a retired accountant who worked for oil companies and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, was the Democratic nominee for state comptroller in 2014, losing to Glenn Hegar by more than 20 percentage points. Patrick, a first-term Republican and former Houston-area radio talkshow host, has become a leader of...
Commentary: 2016 presidential election voter fraud study is justified

Commentary: 2016 presidential election voter fraud study is justified

Some claim that Hillary Clinton’s national vote in the 2016 election was a result of “rampant voter fraud.” Others claim that there was no fraud. These conflicting claims have generated personal attacks by both sides. How is the public to assess these conflicting claims? The absolutely critical distinction is between the persons listed as registered voters and those persons who actually...
Why 1,816 ballots in Hays County went uncounted last November

Why 1,816 ballots in Hays County went uncounted last November

A data storage device containing 1,816 votes in Hays County wasn’t counted in last November’s general election as a result of a “preventable human error,” the county’s new elections administrator announced this week. Jennifer Anderson, who became the county’s elections administrator on Jan. 1, said an internal investigation showed that the device, similar to a memory...
Officials: Voter ID confusion, not voter fraud, at issue in election

Officials: Voter ID confusion, not voter fraud, at issue in election

After confusion over whether several hundred Texans voted improperly in the November election, local election officials say that the ballots in question likely were cast by eligible voters who got caught up in the chaotic scramble to implement a court order loosening the state’s strict voter identification law. The law, adopted in 2011 by the GOP-controlled Legislature and mired in a years-long...
Jarrell school district puts $54 million bond package on May ballot

Jarrell school district puts $54 million bond package on May ballot

Jarrell school district Superintendent Bill Chapman said he often checks out how many homes are under construction in the area to estimate how many new students to expect. The district has grown by more than 500 students over the past five years, he said, and currently has 1,540 students. The district is asking voters to approve $54 million in bonds on May 6 because that sharp growth is expected to...
Election officials: Hundreds of Texans might have voted improperly

Election officials: Hundreds of Texans might have voted improperly

Texas election officials have acknowledged that hundreds of people were allowed to bypass the state’s toughest-in-the-nation voter ID law and improperly cast ballots in the November presidential election after signing a sworn statement instead of showing a photo ID. The chief election officers in two of the state’s largest counties are considering whether to refer cases to prosecutors...
Georgetown mayor, council member face opponents in May election

Georgetown mayor, council member face opponents in May election

Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross and City Council Member Rachael Jonrowe both face opponents in the May 6 election. Two people are also running for Georgetown City Council Member Keith Brainard’s seat since he decided not to seek reelection. The filing period for the May election ended at 5 p.m. Friday. Ross, who has served one three-year term as mayor, is seeking re-election against Dr. Sherwin Kahn...
Commentary: Bring on the special prosecutor

Commentary: Bring on the special prosecutor

In light of the stunning events of the past week, the question is not whether the Trump administration’s ties to the Russian government need to be investigated immediately and fully — clearly they do. It’s who will be in charge of that investigation. The Republicans in Congress can’t decide whether they would rather act like a responsible, independent branch or just the friendly...
First look: Travis County sues over emails sought by Laura Pressley

First look: Travis County sues over emails sought by Laura Pressley

Travis County is suing the state attorney general’s office to block the release of records sought by former Austin City Council candidate Laura Pressley, who is involved in long-running litigation over her 2014 loss to District 4 Council Member Greg Casar. The records request is part of Pressley’s effort to question the validity of elections in Travis County. However, she disputes the...
Number of Texas Latino voters climbed 29 percent in 2016, records show

Number of Texas Latino voters climbed 29 percent in 2016, records show

Nearly 30 percent more Texas Latinos went to the polls in 2016 than in 2012, reducing the participation gap with other Texas voters and signaling to some observers that elections will become increasingly competitive in the Lone Star State. Non-Latino voters increased by a more modest 9.2 percent between presidential elections, according to newly released numbers from the Texas Legislative Council...
Commentary: Texas needs online voter registration now

Commentary: Texas needs online voter registration now

“Take it online, Texas!” This is the request from the front page of Texas.gov, the state’s official website, which provides many opportunities to do just that: renewing your driver’s license, getting a cosmetology license or even applying to carry a handgun. But one common sense, secure, and proven option is missing: registering to vote. The need is obvious — and I&rsquo...
Rep. Beto O’Rourke: Trump’s wall a ‘racist reaction to a racist myth’

Rep. Beto O’Rourke: Trump’s wall a ‘racist reaction to a racist myth’

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, attacked President Donald Trump’s immigration and trade plans last week as a threat to the U.S. and Mexico economies. “In my lifetime, and I’m 44 years old, we’ve never had such a serious situation at our U.S.-Mexico border in our bilateral relationship with Mexico,” O’Rourke told reporters Friday outside the Texas Capitol...
Sen. John Cornyn: Press is ‘healthy’ adversary, not ‘opposition party’

Sen. John Cornyn: Press is ‘healthy’ adversary, not ‘opposition party’

Unlike President Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has long enjoyed a reputation for being accessible and hospitable to journalists. Asked Friday about his views on a comment by White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who called the news media “the opposition party” in an interview with The New York Times, Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said that the natural...
Congressman Beto O’Rourke: Trump’s wall is ‘racist’

Congressman Beto O’Rourke: Trump’s wall is ‘racist’

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, on Friday attacked President Donald Trump’s immigration and trade plans as a threat to the North American economy and described the president’s reasoning for building a wall on the southern border as “racist.” “In my lifetime, and I’m 44 years old, we’ve never had such a serious situation at our U.S.-Mexico border...

Under new reality, Austin council members can raise funds year-round

For years, Austin’s campaign fundraising rules banned City Council members from seeking donations during months-long stretches. But when the council returns on Thursday to cast its first official votes of 2017, it will operate in a different political world, where ongoing fundraising could be a reality. Indeed, campaign finance records show that four council members have received donations since...
Trump alleges voter fraud, but Texas officials deny it

Trump alleges voter fraud, but Texas officials deny it

Even as President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is ordering an investigation into voter fraud, state and local officials in Texas dismissed suggestions of widespread voting irregularities. After telling congressional leaders this week that between 3 million and 5 million unauthorized immigrants had voted for Hillary Clinton and deprived him of the national popular vote — without providing...
Candidates attend debate for election that isn’t happening

Candidates attend debate for election that isn’t happening

The politicos milled about in the audience, the moderator posed questions, and the candidates gave speeches about why they’re running for an election that isn’t happening, at least not yet. The surreal scene took place Tuesday at the Central Texas Democratic Forum, where candidates hoping to replace indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, made their pitches to party insiders. Amid...
President Trump: Don’t let people of color down

President Trump: Don’t let people of color down

Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Melania Trump looks on during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.
Trump skips over four Texans, taps Sonny Perdue as agriculture chief

Trump skips over four Texans, taps Sonny Perdue as agriculture chief

President-elect Donald Trump will reportedly tap former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for U.S. secretary of agriculture, passing over four Texas Republicans who interviewed for the job: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, former Texas A&M University President Elsa Murano, former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs and former U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla of San Antonio. The agriculture job was...
Rep. Dawnna Dukes indicted on 15 charges, booked at county courthouse

Rep. Dawnna Dukes indicted on 15 charges, booked at county courthouse

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes turned herself in at the Travis County courthouse on Wednesday afternoon after a grand jury on Tuesday indicted her on 13 felony corruption charges and two misdemeanors. Speaking outside the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center before going in to stand for a mug shot and give her fingerprints, Dukes, D-Austin, said she would plead not guilty on all charges and will continue...
Candidates hoping to replace state Rep. Dawnna Dukes aren’t going away

Candidates hoping to replace state Rep. Dawnna Dukes aren’t going away

Embattled state Rep. Dawnna Dukes may have reneged on her plans to step down on Tuesday, but the candidates who stepped forward to replace her in a special election aren’t going away. Democrats Sheryl Cole and Jose “Chito” Vela III both held campaign kick-off events this week, promising to run for House District 46 at the next opportunity, be it a special election or the 2018 primary...
Joe Straus reelected to record-tying 5th term as Texas House speaker

Joe Straus reelected to record-tying 5th term as Texas House speaker

Joe Straus on Tuesday was unanimously reelected to a record-tying fifth term as speaker of the Texas House. Straus has faced opposition from tea party-aligned conservatives in the GOP caucus over the years, but none stepped forward to challenge the San Antonio Republican this year. In a speech following his victory, Straus reiterated his desire to improve the scandal-plagued Child Protective Services...
Sheryl Cole isn’t backing down from bid to replace Rep. Dawnna Dukes

Sheryl Cole isn’t backing down from bid to replace Rep. Dawnna Dukes

Former Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, who is hoping to replace state Rep. Dawnna Dukes in the Legislature, does not appear to be backing down from her plans despite Dukes’ last-minute decision to renege on a promise to step down when the Legislature reconvenes on Tuesday. Cole, a Democrat, on Tuesday released her fundraising totals and a list of high-profile endorsements and is holding a...
Dawnna Dukes says constituents urged her not to resign

Dawnna Dukes says constituents urged her not to resign

Around midnight, hours before the Legislature convenes for its biennial session Tuesday, embattled state Rep. Dawnna Dukes laid out in a Facebook post the reasons she decided at the last minute to renege on her plan to step down, saying constituents, former lawmakers and her doctor all urged her to continue serving. “Look, I listened very closely to what my constituents were saying to me. The...
White House: Trump may not sign government funding bill without border wall

White House: Trump may not sign government funding bill without border wall

WASHINGTON - White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that President Donald Trump might refuse to sign a government spending bill that does not include money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, leaving open the possibility of a federal government shutdown toward the end of the week. "Will he sign a government funding bill that does not include funding for the border wall?"...
Virginia woman faces rare charge of self-induced abortion

Virginia woman faces rare charge of self-induced abortion

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — The police brought cadaver dogs to search the small redbrick rancher in this suburban community south of Richmond. On that March day more than a year ago, they were seeking "any evidence associated with the delivery and death of a newborn child whether alive or deceased," according to the affidavit for the search warrant.  What they found buried...
Texas Republican wants shouting CNN reporter fired

Texas Republican wants shouting CNN reporter fired

A Republican member of Congress from Texas says that a CNN reporter should be fired for his persistent shouting of a question at President-elect Donald Trump. What’s more, CNN’s Jim Acosta should be banned from future news conferences, said U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, R-Alvin, in a tweet Thursday morning. Weber’s tweet came a day after a tense back-and-forth between Trump and Acosta at...
Williamson County shatters first-day early voting record

Williamson County shatters first-day early voting record

5:30 p.m. update: The number of Williamson County residents hitting the polls Monday for the first day of early voting has surpassed the number of people who voted the first day of early voting in the 2012 presidential election. The Williamson County Elections Department reported 14,705 people have voted as of 5 p.m. compared to a total turnout of 9,223 voters on the first day of early voting in November...
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