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Elections


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...
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...

Do you agree with Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim countries?

Demonstrators in Cincinnati gather on January 30 in solidarity against President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.
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...
Ken Paxton campaign raises $1.8 million

Ken Paxton campaign raises $1.8 million

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s campaign raised $1.8 million in the second half of 2016 as he gears up for a re-election bid in 2018, a campaign spokesman said Thursday. Paxton enters 2017 with almost $4.6 million in his campaign account, spokesman Matt Welch said. “Attorney General Ken Paxton will file an incredibly strong campaign finance report and will once again defy the expectations...
Report: Trump considering Susan Combs for agriculture secretary

Report: Trump considering Susan Combs for agriculture secretary

President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly considering Susan Combs, the former Texas agriculture commissioner and comptroller, to be his secretary of agriculture. Combs met with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, according to the Texas Tribune. Reached by phone, Combs referred questions to a spokesman who did not immediately return a request for comment. Like many Republicans...
All but 2 Texas members of the Electoral College choose Donald Trump

All but 2 Texas members of the Electoral College choose Donald Trump

Amid protests and intense media coverage, Texas members of the Electoral College mostly stuck to the script Monday, casting the votes that gave Donald Trump a majority and officially elected him president. Gathered in the state House chamber as a small group of protesters shouted, “Save our democracy,” from outside the Capitol, the Texas electors cast 36 votes for Donald Trump, one for...
Protesters gather at Texas Capitol ahead of electoral college vote, 12.19.16

Protesters gather at Texas Capitol ahead of electoral college vote, 12.19.16

Texas casts 36 of 38 electoral votes to Trump, making him president

Texas casts 36 of 38 electoral votes to Trump, making him president

Update 4:30 p.m.: Texas members of the Electoral College on Monday afternoon cast the votes that put Donald Trump over the 270 needed to become president, officially completing his unlikely rise from real estate developer and reality TV star to the next commander-in-chief. Gathered in the state House chambers, the Texas electors cast 36 votes for Trump, one for former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and one for...
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell declines to weigh in on Trump’s pick

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell declines to weigh in on Trump’s pick

On the morning President-elect Donald Trump named Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana to be her successor, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in Austin that she couldn’t yet assess how he will handle the job. “We haven’t worked close enough together where I could weigh in on that,” Jewell said at the American YouthWorks offices in South Austin. “I will be...
Newly elected ACC trustees to push for child care at campuses

Newly elected ACC trustees to push for child care at campuses

Sean Hassan and Julie Ann Nitsch, who won seats on the Austin Community College Board of Trustees in Tuesday’s runoff, say expanding child care for ACC students is one of their top priorities. The lack of such care at ACC campuses not only hinders students’ progress but keeps others from enrolling in the first place, Hassan said. “One of the first things is to sit down with other...
Thomaides, Mihalkanin, Gonzales win San Marcos council elections

Thomaides, Mihalkanin, Gonzales win San Marcos council elections

Council Member John Thomaides narrowly won the San Marcos mayor’s race in Tuesday’s runoff with a 42-vote margin of victory over business owner Ruben Becerra, according to the final but unofficial count. “It’s obviously very gratifying,” Thomaides said about his win with 50.62 percent of the vote, or 1,727 votes. “It’s been such a long, long election season...
Urbanovsky defeats Hatch in Buda City Council race

Urbanovsky defeats Hatch in Buda City Council race

Project manager Lee Urbanovsky won a seat on the Buda City Council on Tuesday night, earning 61 percent of the vote over petition consultant John Hatch’s 39 percent, according to unofficial final election results before canvassing. The seat was vacated by Place 1 Council Member Angela Kennedy, who decided not to seek another term. The race went to a runoff after no one clinched a majority in...
District 10 stunner: Alison Alter topples incumbent Sheri Gallo

District 10 stunner: Alison Alter topples incumbent Sheri Gallo

Council Member Sheri Gallo lost her bid for reelection Tuesday night to challenger Alison Alter in a campaign riven by debate over the city’s explosive growth — and resulting traffic woes, housing crunch and skyrocketing property tax bills. Alter outpaced Gallo by nearly a 2-1 ratio, taking 9,442 of the 14,757 votes cast, according to the tally from the Travis County Clerk’s office...
Greg Abbott says Trump administration may ease fiscal burdens on Texas

Greg Abbott says Trump administration may ease fiscal burdens on Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that a Trump administration in Washington may help ease the state’s budget crunch by fulfilling its responsibilities to secure the border, giving the state greater flexibility in administering Medicaid and saving Texas the cost of constantly suing the federal government to fight what state officials consider intrusive executive actions and regulations. Abbott also...
Gallo, Alter contest in District 10 nears finish line

Gallo, Alter contest in District 10 nears finish line

After five months of campaigning and more than $300,000 spent by the two camps, the contentious race to represent West Austin’s District 10 on the Austin City Council will be decided in Tuesday’s runoff. The race has grown ferocious in its closing weeks as the campaigns of Council Member Sheri Gallo and challenger Alison Alter, a one-time Gallo appointee to the parks board, blanketed mailboxes...
By the numbers: Tuesday’s runoff elections in Central Texas

By the numbers: Tuesday’s runoff elections in Central Texas

Tuesday is election day for a handful of runoffs from last month’s general election. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the runoffs in Central Texas: 5 — Percent turnout expected in Travis County, compared with 65 percent turnout for the November general election. 3 — Seats that will be decided on the San Marcos City Council: mayor (Ruben Becerra vs. John Thomaides) and two City...
Stevenson: Keep pushing for investigation into Russia’s meddling

Stevenson: Keep pushing for investigation into Russia’s meddling

During the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton inflamed the ire of Donald Trump’s supporters by describing some of them as a “basket of deplorables.” Since the surprise win of Donald Trump on Nov. 8, many of us have joined the basket of inconsolables. Each morning we wake up and remember: “Oh, (expletive)!” Sixty-seven percent of Travis County voters chose Clinton...
Stekler: Until Democrats can reach Latinos, Texas can’t turn “purple”

Stekler: Until Democrats can reach Latinos, Texas can’t turn “purple”

It’s been a constant refrain of Texas Democrats wandering in the electoral wilderness for 20 years: When the Hispanic electorate finally arrives at the polls in the numbers they make up in the state’s population, everything will change. It’s the dream of waking the sleeping giant of Texas politics and turning the state blue. In our short film about Texas, part of the “Postcards...
Rick Perry returns to Trump Tower for another Cabinet interview

Rick Perry returns to Trump Tower for another Cabinet interview

Former Gov. Rick Perry will meet with Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York Monday afternoon as the president-elect closes in on his choice for secretary of energy. Trump’s meeting with Perry will be his last of the day, according to the Presidential Transition Team. Earlier in the day, Trump will meet with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia, who has also been mentioned...
Report: Former Gov. Rick Perry Trump’s top choice for energy secretary

Report: Former Gov. Rick Perry Trump’s top choice for energy secretary

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is apparently back in the mix to join the Trump Cabinet. BloombergPolitics reported Sunday that the two-time candidate for the Republican nomination for president had emerged as the leading candidate to lead the Energy Department. According to BloombergPolitics, Perry met with President-elect Donald Trump at the Army-Navy football game in Baltimore Saturday, along with...
Commentary: GOP must look to bring new voters into the party

Commentary: GOP must look to bring new voters into the party

In a rare sweep, Republican leaders have now assumed control of both the U.S. presidency and Congress. In the coming months, they’ll have their hands full. But as soon as they get the fundamentals in place, the party would be wise to look beyond the current strategizing and celebrations. As every elected official knows, victory and defeat are only temporary. To continue racking up electoral...

Travis, Hays see low turnouts in early voting for runoff elections

One month after a record-setting, high-turnout general election, only about 2 percent of Travis and Hays counties’ registered voters participated in early voting for runoff elections, perhaps due to cold weather and voter fatigue, election officials said. But the nippy weather didn’t stop 32-year-old San Marcos resident Aniekan Umobong from leaving work at UPS early to cast his ballot...
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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