Elections


Commentary: Austin ISD bond plan would create segregation

Save East Austin Schools supports public funding for public schools. The problem is, the Austin ISD bond plan would discriminate against Austin’s low-income Hispanic and African-American communities. The large majority —75 percent of students — are minorities who typically attend Title 1, low-income schools. However, only 35 percent of bond monies would go to Title I schools. The...


Pro-AISD bond group raises $186,000 in campaign funds

Pro-AISD bond group raises $186,000 in campaign funds

A political action committee supporting the Austin district’s school bonds has raised $186,000 to lobby voters to approve the $1.1 billion bond measure, with substantial support from the city’s business community, especially those in the building trade. The Committee for Austin’s Children PAC has spent about $76,000 on flyers, direct mailers, yard signs and a poll that gauged public...
Commentary: Texas risks harm if it hands over our voter data

Commentary: Texas risks harm if it hands over our voter data

While our state political leaders take pride in bucking Washington, there is one area where they’re being cooperative to our detriment: They are willing to hand a federal commission a treasure trove of voter data going back a decade. Election officials were thankfully forced to pump the brakes recently after we sought help from the courts. But the fight isn’t over. The order blocking some...
Wear: Travis County, in case you missed it, is asking for transportation bonds

Wear: Travis County, in case you missed it, is asking for transportation bonds

I thought you should know, in case this news has failed to break through all the noise from Trump, the Astros and Harvey (the hurricane as well as the disgraced movie mogul), that Travis County is about to ask you for $93.4 million for transportation, mostly, and, under a separate ballot proposition, $91.5 million for parks and green space. But it also is going to borrow and spend another $95...
AUSTIN SCHOOL BOND FORUM: Questions of segregation, inequity addressed

AUSTIN SCHOOL BOND FORUM: Questions of segregation, inequity addressed

School and community leaders Wednesday night debated whether the Austin school district’s $1.1 billion bond measure would benefit students equally across the district, and raised issues such as the bond’s tax impact, segregation in the schools and how to address underenrolled schools. Trustee Ted Gordon said that while he has concerns with aspects of the bond, its failure would leave...

Appeals court declines bid to speed voter ID ruling

A federal appeals court Tuesday declined to have all 14 judges participate in the appeal over the Texas voter ID law — a decision that will keep the issue unresolved heading into the 2018 elections, one judge said. Civil rights groups, Democrats and minority voters who challenged the voter ID law as discriminatory had asked for the entire court to hear the appeal as a way to speed the case toward...
Ex-Council Member Zimmerman joins East Austin foes to oppose AISD bond

Ex-Council Member Zimmerman joins East Austin foes to oppose AISD bond

An unlikely alliance has formed to oppose the Austin school district’s $1.1 billion bond measure in November. The Save East Austin Schools political action committee, which says the bond proposal will worsen segregation and do little for the district’s neediest students, says one of the group’s stronger allies is the Travis County Taxpayers Union, led by former Austin City Council...
Court declines to speed Texas voter ID challenge as elections loom

Court declines to speed Texas voter ID challenge as elections loom

A federal appeals court Tuesday declined to have all 14 judges participate in the appeal over the Texas voter ID law — a decision that will keep the issue unresolved heading into the 2018 elections, one judge said. Civil rights groups and minority voters who challenged the voter ID law as discriminatory had asked for the entire court to hear the appeal as a way to speed the case toward resolution...
Trump’s rhetoric drawing full field of Democrats to congressional race

Trump’s rhetoric drawing full field of Democrats to congressional race

It’s not unusual for the election of a Republican president to bring a surge of Democrats seeking seats in the midterm elections. But Texas Democratic Party leaders say the latest outpouring of enthusiasm and often anger-fueled passion spurred by President Donald Trump’s election is unmatched. “I’ve been recruiting candidates in Texas for years, and I’ve never seen an...
PolitiFact: Cruz touts his ‘town halls,’ but were they really?

PolitiFact: Cruz touts his ‘town halls,’ but were they really?

He’s not Waldo. But could it be that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz doesn’t get personally grilled by constituents very often? Cruz, poised to seek re-election as Texas’ junior Republican senator in 2018, hardly has a reputation for avoiding attention. After all, he ran for president shortly after making waves in Washington and held on as the last viable Republican alternate to Donald Trump...
Commentary: Texas’ cost of defending discrimination is simply too much

Commentary: Texas’ cost of defending discrimination is simply too much

Democracy costs. To be sustained, it requires time, deliberation and constant vigilance. These costs are high enough. But some states are manufacturing additional costs to undermine our democracy. Texas’ dogged defense of its racially discriminatory voter ID law is a prime example. For the fourth time in three years, a federal court has declared Texas’s voter ID law racially discriminatory...
Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long to run for fourth term

Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long to run for fourth term

Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long is running for re-election, according to a news release she issued this week. She will be running for her fourth four-year term. The election is in November 2018. Long, 55, said it was “vital to keep driving the policies that have consistently resulted in Williamson County being ranked as one of the best places in the nation to live, work and raise...
Austin judge blocks release of Texas voter data to Trump panel

Austin judge blocks release of Texas voter data to Trump panel

A Travis County judge has blocked state officials from turning over Texas voting records to President Donald Trump’s commission on voter fraud. State District Judge Tim Sulak issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday that prohibits the release of voter information for about two weeks, ruling that providing the data “without taking appropriate precautions to safeguard the privacy and...
Travis County ditches plan to craft its own voting system

Travis County ditches plan to craft its own voting system

The Travis County clerk’s office is abandoning a nearly decade-long effort to craft its own voting system, opting instead to pick one of the existing voting machine systems from a private company, officials announced Tuesday. “We’re going to proceed with getting a new voting system,” County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir told the Commissioners Court during its Tuesday meeting. &ldquo...
Herman: The Dawnna Dukes saga drags on

Herman: The Dawnna Dukes saga drags on

The reputations of two elected officials entered a Travis County courtroom Tuesday. One, it seems, eventually is destined to walk out tarnished, at best, and disgraced, at worst. The question is which one. The odd and oddly lingering saga of the state of Texas vs. state Rep. Dawnna Dukes inched forward Tuesday when Dukes, the indicted Austin Democrat who’d been late for previous pretrial hearings...
Austinite joins lawsuit against Trump voter fraud panel

Austinite joins lawsuit against Trump voter fraud panel

Created four months ago, President Donald Trump’s commission to investigate election fraud has been met with a deluge of lawsuits seeking to stymie its plans to collect data on voters from all 50 states — including a federal court challenge from voters in Austin, New York and Florida. Anthony Gutierrez, head of the Texas chapter of Common Cause in Austin, said he joined his watchdog organization&rsquo...
PolitiFact: Cruz’s defense of sex toy law was strictly professional

PolitiFact: Cruz’s defense of sex toy law was strictly professional

Among darts tossed at Sen. Ted Cruz after his Twitter account “liked” a sexual video clip was an allegation that Cruz has backed a ban on sex toys. The New York Post tweeted: “This is the same senator who once supported a ban on sex toys.” We’re unaware of Cruz, elected in 2012 and seeking re-election in 2018, calling for a ban on sex toys. So what was the Post talking...
Hackers targeted Texas Secretary of State’s website, official says

Hackers targeted Texas Secretary of State’s website, official says

The federal government on Friday told election officials in 21 states, including Texas, that hackers targeted their systems before last year’s presidential election. “There was an attempt to find a vulnerability on our agency’s public-facing website, which contains no voter information, but no vulnerabilities were found, according to DHS,” said Sam Taylor, communications director...
Hackers targeted Texas secretary of state website, official says

Hackers targeted Texas secretary of state website, official says

The federal government on Friday told election officials in 21 states, including Texas, that hackers targeted their systems before last year’s presidential election. “There was an attempt to find a vulnerability on our agency’s public-facing website, which contains no voter information, but no vulnerabilities were found, according to DHS,” said Sam Taylor, communications director...
Report: Most Texas high schools aren’t registering students to vote

Report: Most Texas high schools aren’t registering students to vote

No private high schools and just 14 percent of public high schools in Texas requested voter registration forms from the secretary of state’s office in 2016, a report released Wednesday found, even though a state law requires them to do so. The report by the Texas Civil Rights Project and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law found that 198 out of 1,428 public high schools requested...
Commentary: Trump’s ‘integrity’ panel spreads falsehoods about elections

Commentary: Trump’s ‘integrity’ panel spreads falsehoods about elections

The right to vote is a critical principle of our democracy. We want our election system to be free, fair and accessible to all eligible voters. President Donald Trump’s sham panel — the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which was formed in May — has launched an assault on the right to vote. Led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris...
Report: Few high schools in Texas comply with voter registration law

Report: Few high schools in Texas comply with voter registration law

No private high schools and just 14 percent of public high schools in Texas requested voter registration forms from the secretary of state’s office in 2016, a report released Wednesday found, even though a state law requires them to do so. The report by the Texas Civil Rights Project and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law found that 198 out of 1,428 public high schools requested...
A NEAR MISS: Kyle man discovers his land isn’t in Kyle after all

A NEAR MISS: Kyle man discovers his land isn’t in Kyle after all

Robert Rizo thought for more than four decades that his family’s home was in the city of Kyle. The family even had thousands of dollars in tax bills to prove it. It wasn’t until Rizo filed to run this summer for Kyle City Council, however, that officials told him his home address was just outside the city limits — meaning he’s not a Kyle resident, despite the fact that he and...
Commentary: Trump wants infrastructure. Build us up with Public Works

Commentary: Trump wants infrastructure. Build us up with Public Works

Infrastructure is the physical foundation of civilization — and ours is in dire need of rebuilding. Our bridges are crumbling, our roads are full of holes, our electric grid is stressed. Let’s eliver a tremendous economic boom for all Americans. The American Society of Civil Engineers has graded our current infrastructure a D-plus. It was estimated (before the recent hurricanes) that over...
Commentary: How politics at the elite level drove the special session

Commentary: How politics at the elite level drove the special session

Moments after the Texas Senate followed the House in adjourning a day before the special session expired, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he was “most unhappy” that the House “quit on the taxpayers of Texas.” The next day, Gov. Greg Abbott said of the House not taking votes on bills addressing all 20 of his priorities: “The voters of the state of Texas deserved to know where...
GOP Rep. Will Hurd fights for survival as a centrist in the Trump era

GOP Rep. Will Hurd fights for survival as a centrist in the Trump era

On the second day of a weeklong, 20-event town hall tour of his massive West Texas district, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd was met by dozens of constituents packed into a lecture hall at Sul Ross State University. The crowd in Alpine, a relatively liberal college town, had the potential to be one of the most hostile to the second-term Republican during the trip, which came as Democrats’ criticism of President...
Senate approval sends mail-in voter fraud bill to governor

Senate approval sends mail-in voter fraud bill to governor

The Texas Senate gave final approval Friday to a bill to increase criminal penalties on mail-in ballot fraud, sending Senate Bill 5 to Gov. Greg Abbott. All Republicans and one Democrat — Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville — voted to accept changes the House had made to the bill, although Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, said she was unhappy that a House-added amendment will void a law that...

Texas House gives final approval to ballot fraud bill, Abbott priority

The Texas House gave final approval to a bill Thursday that would increase penalties for mail-in ballot fraud, one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s 20 priorities for the 30-day special legislative session. The chamber debated Senate Bill 5 for more than three hours Wednesday but quickly passed the measure 92-39 on Thursday. The bill, by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, would require a signature...
Commentary: How Texas high school principals can cultivate teen voters

Commentary: How Texas high school principals can cultivate teen voters

Our democracy depends on the active participation of young Texans in the electoral process. It is essential that we empower younger generations to make their voices heard through voting. To do this, we must first take an active role in ensuring that those who are eligible can and will register to vote. Fortunately, enshrined in the Texas Election Code is a unique provision that requires all high school...
House approves Senate’s mail-in ballot fraud bill

House approves Senate’s mail-in ballot fraud bill

After more than three hours of debate Wednesday, the Texas House voted 90-37 to tentatively approve a Senate bill that would increase penalties for mail-in ballot fraud. The House is scheduled to take a final vote on the measure Thursday. Senate Bill 5, by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, would require a signature verification process for early ballots, notification of rejected ones within...
Rep. Will Hurd bucks GOP trend, kicks off Dairy Queen town hall tour

Rep. Will Hurd bucks GOP trend, kicks off Dairy Queen town hall tour

Wearing jeans, cowboy boots and a white, short-sleeved, button-down shirt, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd walked into a Dairy Queen in El Paso and began shaking hands. Some of the diners were waiting for him, armed with printed talking points and cutting questions. Others were confused about the commotion. Hurd on Sunday kicked off a six-day, 20-event blitz of town hall meetings at fast food restaurants, primarily...
Viewpoints: It’s time for Rep. Dawnna Dukes to step down

Viewpoints: It’s time for Rep. Dawnna Dukes to step down

Twice now, Rep. Dawnna Dukes has rejected offers by the Travis County District Attorney’s office to drop a corruption case against her in exchange for Dukes’ resignation. She first rejected then-DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s offer in September. On Tuesday, she did the same with DA Margaret Moore’s deal. Dukes, who has denied any wrongdoing, now heads to court in October to face 13...

Travis DA still investigating 17 who voted twice in 2016 election

The Travis County district attorney’s office is still investigating 17 people who voted twice during the 2016 general election, but none of the voters contacted so far has been accused of criminal intent. Don Clemmer, the director of the district attorney’s Special Prosecution Division, said investigators still have five more people to speak to before they can put a lid on the investigation...
PolitiFact: O’Rourke isn’t accepting PAC money — but once did

PolitiFact: O’Rourke isn’t accepting PAC money — but once did

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the punk rocker turned Democratic politician from El Paso, vowed to go against “politics as usual” in Washington while spreading the word about his quest to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the 2018 elections. O’Rourke, addressing Dallas supporters at a campaign kickoff event, provided some detail as to what that means to him. Toward...
Texas political maps to go on trial

Texas political maps to go on trial

In a confrontation six years in the making, a federal court in San Antonio will devote the upcoming week to a jam-packed trial that will determine whether Texans have been electing members of the U.S. House and Texas House in districts that discriminate against minority voters. If the challenge to the maps succeeds, many Texans can expect to be voting in new districts during the 2018 primary and general...
Officials: 17 Travis County voters cast ballots twice in 2016 election

Officials: 17 Travis County voters cast ballots twice in 2016 election

Travis County elections officials confirmed Thursday they have identified 17 voters who cast ballots twice in the 2016 general election. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said the double voters were discovered during a routine audit conducted after the election. The voters come from different political backgrounds. Some have Democratic voting histories, while others had historically voted Republican...
Texas Supreme Court upholds election laws in tea party challenge

Texas Supreme Court upholds election laws in tea party challenge

Denying a challenge by a tea party group, the Texas Supreme Court on Friday upheld several decades-old campaign finance and election laws, including state limits on political contributions from corporations. The state’s highest civil court also affirmed donor-disclosure rules, denying arguments that they were based on vague definitions, and upheld the right of private organizations to file suit...
Texas Supreme Court denies tea party challenge to election laws

Texas Supreme Court denies tea party challenge to election laws

Denying a challenge by a tea party group, the Texas Supreme Court on Friday upheld several decades-old campaign finance and election laws, including state limits on political contributions from corporations. The state’s highest civil court also affirmed donor-disclosure rules, denying arguments that they were based on vague definitions, and upheld the right of private organizations to file suit...
How gerrymandering helped the GOP in 2016

How gerrymandering helped the GOP in 2016

The 2016 presidential contest was awash with charges that the fix was in: Republican Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged against him, while Democrats have accused the Russians of stacking the odds in Trump’s favor. Less attention was paid to manipulation that occurred not during the presidential race, but before it — in the drawing of lines for hundreds of congressional...
Commentary: On school bonds, it’s time to go in for all of Austin

Commentary: On school bonds, it’s time to go in for all of Austin

When your school district includes 130 buildings with an average age of 46 years, major renovations will be in order. It is time for Austin to go all in for a school bond that declares our commitment to education across the whole city. The current proposed bond package serves some areas well, neglects others, and doesn’t do enough to address the loss of students to charter schools and Austin...
Commentary: Language barrier shouldn’t be a barrier to democracy

Commentary: Language barrier shouldn’t be a barrier to democracy

Though voting should be a simple process, it’s undeniable that some people face more obstacles at the polls than others. When English is not your first language, the voting process can be especially difficult. Though a controversial voter ID law here has grabbed national headlines, fewer Texans know about the state’s more obscure voting rights battle that’s threatening the right...
Manafort was in debt to pro-Russia interests, Cyprus records show

Manafort was in debt to pro-Russia interests, Cyprus records show

Financial records filed last year in the secretive tax haven of Cyprus, where Paul Manafort kept bank accounts during his years working in Ukraine and investing with a Russian oligarch, indicate that he had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Donald Trump's presidential campaign in March 2016.   The money appears to have been owed by shell companies...
REPORT: Lamar Smith visits Greenland with lawmakers to see climate change effects up close

REPORT: Lamar Smith visits Greenland with lawmakers to see climate change effects up close

Noted climate-change skeptic U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith — the whose district stretches into parts of Austin — saw the effects of the warming Arctic first-hand on an unpublicized tour of Greenland and Alaska in May.  Smith was accompanied by at least eight of his fellow congressmen on the trip, which was first reported by BuzzFeed News on Friday...
Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault

Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault

WASHINGTON — Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried "eyes only" instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides. Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that...
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?"...
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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