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Elections


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...


Taxpayers Union claims AISD exaggerated T.A. Brown Elementary damage

Taxpayers Union claims AISD exaggerated T.A. Brown Elementary damage

The Travis County Taxpayers Union has asked the Austin school district to halt any plans to demolish T.A. Brown Elementary, alleging the structural damage that prompted the sudden closure of the school was exaggerated to win over voters for a proposed November bond election. The Austin school board is slated to call for the bond election Monday night. While the list of projects and dollar amount isn&rsquo...
BREAKING: Lyle Nelson wins runoff for Bastrop City Council Place 3

BREAKING: Lyle Nelson wins runoff for Bastrop City Council Place 3

Lyle Nelson has clinched the Bastrop City Council Place 3 seat in the city’s first runoff election, according to unofficial results provided by the Bastrop County Elections Office. Nelson garnered 361 votes (59 percent) in Saturday’s election, defeating his opponent, Lee Harle, who took home 248 votes (41 percent). “I am ecstatic,” Nelson said Saturday night of his win. &ldquo...
PolitiFact: Courts repeatedly finding Texas laws discriminatory

PolitiFact: Courts repeatedly finding Texas laws discriminatory

After federal judges in April 2017 ruled that Texas Republicans had intentionally diluted minority voting strength when they redrew U.S. and Texas House districts, a Democratic legislator said it wasn’t the first time — or even the fifth. Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas, who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, posted a tweet saying: “How many federal rulings have NOW found...
Taxpayers Union claims AISD exaggerated damage to TA Brown elementary

Taxpayers Union claims AISD exaggerated damage to TA Brown elementary

The Travis County Taxpayers Union has asked the Austin school district to halt any plans to demolish T.A. Brown Elementary, alleging the structural damages that prompted the sudden closure of the school were exaggerated to win over voters for a proposed November bond election. The Austin school board is slated to call for the bond election on Monday night. While the list of projects and dollar amount...
Austin trustees’ new bond plan calls for LASA to move south and grow

Austin trustees’ new bond plan calls for LASA to move south and grow

The nationally ranked Liberal Arts and Science Academy will move out of LBJ High School to become a stand-alone school on the Johnston campus in East Austin under a bond proposal expected to go before voters in November. Eastside Memorial High School, currently housed at the former Johnston High campus, would move to the Alternative Learning Center, formerly the original L.C. Anderson High School...
Matt Mackowiak beats Don Zimmerman in race to lead Travis County GOP

Matt Mackowiak beats Don Zimmerman in race to lead Travis County GOP

Matt Mackowiak, a political strategist who vowed to reinvigorate the Travis County Republican Party, narrowly edged out former Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman in the race for chair of the county party. Mackowiak, who had been serving as the party’s executive vice chair, won Tuesday night on a 46-38 vote over Zimmerman. Zimmerman had played up his experience in local politics, including ...
Scott Rose, Terri Grimm win their races for the Hutto City Council

Scott Rose, Terri Grimm win their races for the Hutto City Council

Hutto has two new City Council members after a special election Saturday. Terri Grimm won a three-way race for Place 6 on the council, and Scott Rose won his runoff election against Dana Wilcott for Place 1. Grimm trounced her opponents, getting 307 votes to win Place 6 by more than 200 ballots. Rose won with 289 votes for Place 1. Grimm ran against Jim Morris and Kris Andrews to fill the unexpired...
Terri Grimm and Scott Rose win their races for Hutto City Council

Terri Grimm and Scott Rose win their races for Hutto City Council

Hutto has two new council members after a special election Saturday. Terri Grimm beat two other opponents for Place 6 on the Hutto Council while Scott Rose won his runoff election against Dana Wilcott. Teri Grimm won with 307 votes for Place 6. Rose won with 289 votes for Place 1. Grimm ran against Jim Morris and Kris Andrews to fill the unexpired term of Bettina Jordan who resigned in March from...
Two Hutto City Council seats up for grabs Saturday

Two Hutto City Council seats up for grabs Saturday

Two seats on the Hutto City Council will be up for grabs Saturday with both a special election and a runoff race. A travel program manager, a homemaker and a retired electrical engineer are running against each other for the Place 6 seat left behind by Bettina Jordan, who resigned in March. There also is a runoff between Fort Hood firefighter Scott Rose and Dana Wilcott, who works with at-risk children...
Challengers seek to void Texas voter ID law

Challengers seek to void Texas voter ID law

Lawyers for minority voters and politicians asked a federal judge Wednesday to void the Texas voter ID law, saying it is the next logical step for a statute found to be discriminatory. The lawyers also said they will ask U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to require Texas officials to get U.S. Justice Department approval for any future changes to election law or voting procedures to guard against...
Abbott signs voter ID bill into law

Abbott signs voter ID bill into law

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new voter ID bill into law Thursday, loosening identification requirements from a 2011 law that a federal judge said was enacted by Republicans to intentionally discriminate against minority voters, who tend to vote for Democrats. Senate Bill 5 will allow registered voters who lack a photo ID to cast a ballot after showing documents that list their name and address, including...
Abbott signs voter ID, end of straight-party voting into law

Abbott signs voter ID, end of straight-party voting into law

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new voter ID bill into law Thursday, loosening identification requirements from a 2011 law that a federal judge said was enacted by Republicans to intentionally discriminate against minority voters, who tend to vote for Democrats. Senate Bill 5 will allow registered voters who lack a photo ID to cast a ballot after showing documents that list their name and address, including...
George P. Bush: Coast-to-coast border wall ‘probably not feasible’

George P. Bush: Coast-to-coast border wall ‘probably not feasible’

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush on Friday said President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border is “probably not feasible,” joining other Texas Republicans who have cast doubt on Trump’s signature campaign promise. “We need to have a strategic, methodical process to deal with illegal immigration and to work on enhancing legal immigration...
Texas House gives final approval to bill aimed at fixing voter ID law

Texas House gives final approval to bill aimed at fixing voter ID law

The Texas House on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill aimed at fixing the state’s 2011 law requiring voters to show photo identification following court rulings that have found the law to be racially discriminatory. The 93-55 vote, with Democrats opposing the measure, comes a day after the House gave initial approval to Senate Bill 5, which would codify some changes imposed on Texas for...
Austin school district voters need choices for bonds, not an ultimatum

Austin school district voters need choices for bonds, not an ultimatum

We urge Austin school district trustees to craft a bond package that is transparent, efficient and equitable and avoid waging an all-or-nothing gamble that might backfire with voters and leave schools — some in deep disrepair — in the lurch. Unfortunately, some school leaders seem headed in that direction by leaning toward a bond package on the Nov. 7 ballot that would offer voters a single...
Senate backs ending straight-party voting

Senate backs ending straight-party voting

Split along party lines, the Texas Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to a bill that would end straight-party voting, requiring every candidate on state ballots to be chosen individually. Democrats opposed House Bill 25, saying it could discourage voting in a state with an already low voter participation rate. “Frankly, I don’t see any purpose for this legislation other than trying...

Texas voter ID case could provide another avenue to Supreme Court

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal Monday to review North Carolina’s voter identification law, a similar statute in Texas could provide another avenue to the high court. Last month, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi ruled that the Republican-drafted Texas law was enacted in 2011 with the intent to discriminate against minority voters, who tend to favor Democratic...
Census numbers probably underestimated Hispanic voter turnout in Texas

Census numbers probably underestimated Hispanic voter turnout in Texas

When the U.S. Census Bureau released its 2016 voting and election survey data last week, the numbers painted a grim picture of Hispanic voting gains in the 2016 presidential election: Just 48,000 more Hispanic Texans went to the polls compared with 2012, a dismal 2.5 percent increase, according to the federal count. The census data resulted in a flurry of headlines indicating that Latino voters in...
Three candidates seek Austin district board seat vacated by Saldaña

Three candidates seek Austin district board seat vacated by Saldaña

Three candidates are seeking appointment to the Austin school board seat vacated midterm by Paul Saldaña. Saldaña’s departure last month left the nine-member board without a Latino representative and with one minority trustee, Ted Gordon, who is black. Nearly 60 percent of the district’s more than 83,000 students are Latino, and multiple community leaders and local politicians...
Herman: Texas Democrats claim big wins in small races

Herman: Texas Democrats claim big wins in small races

After years and years of wandering in the political wilderness, Texas Democrats have found a way to win some races. The secret is simple: just don’t put Democrat next to their candidates’ names on the ballot. Sarcasm aside — and that’s not always easy when talking about long-losing and long-suffering Texas Democrats — kudos to the party for winning seven nonpartisan local...
Voters in fast-growing Hays County approve two school bond packages

Voters in fast-growing Hays County approve two school bond packages

Hays County residents approved several hundred million dollars in school upgrades with two bond packages in Saturday’s election. Both the Hays and San Marcos school districts sought bonds to pay for facilities to accommodate their rapid growth. Taxpayers handily passed both bond packages, neither of which is expected to increase property tax rates. The Hays school district sought a $250 million...
Voters reject $572 million in bonds for Round Rock schools

Voters reject $572 million in bonds for Round Rock schools

The defeat of the Round Rock school district’s $572 million bond package late Saturday sparked celebration among taxpayer activists — and hand-wringing among schools advocates who say the district is now in a difficult situation of having to address strategic goals with a lack of money. Proposition 1, which would have paid for construction of the district’s sixth high school...
San Marcos election: Public safety, library bonds approved

San Marcos election: Public safety, library bonds approved

San Marcos residents have passed a $31.7 million bond package — the first in more than a decade — for public safety improvements and a library expansion, according to final unofficial returns from Saturday’s election. The $17.2 million bond for public safety improvements passed with 76 percent of the vote, while the $14.5 million library bond passed with 77 percent of the vote. Police...
Final results: Voters approve all 3 Travis County ESD propositions

Final results: Voters approve all 3 Travis County ESD propositions

Voters approved propositions in three Travis County emergency services districts in Saturday’s election. ESD 15 creation In Southeastern Travis County, 94 percent of voters approved adding a second emergency services district over an existing one — essentially a shortcut to allow taxes to be raised above the legal maximum. The existing Emergency Services District 11 provides emergency...
FINAL: Two challengers, incumbent win Dripping Springs council races

FINAL: Two challengers, incumbent win Dripping Springs council races

10:23 p.m update: Challengers Taline Manassian, William Travis Crow and incumbent Bill Foulds clinched three Dripping Springs City Council seats Saturday. Manassian, an attorney, led with 24.45 percent. Foulds followed with 18.39 percent, and Crow got 18.16 percent. Other candidates included challenger Harrison Schultz, who had 16.76 percent. Charles Busbey earned 15.48 percent of the vote, and longtime...
Hays County approves two multi-million school bond packages

Hays County approves two multi-million school bond packages

UPDATE 10:15 p.m: Hays County residents approved two multi-million school bond packages in Saturday’s election. Both the Hays and San Marcos school districts sought bonds to fund facilities to accommodate their rapid growth. Taxpayers handily passed both bond packages, neither of which is expected to increase property tax rates. The Hays school district sought a $250 million bond package &mdash...
Hays ESD 6 voters favor quarter-cent sales tax hike

Hays ESD 6 voters favor quarter-cent sales tax hike

Voters in unincorporated Hays County near Dripping Springs overwhelmingly approved a quarter-cent sales tax increase to fund a new fire station and other equipment, according to unofficial final election results. The measure was approved with 71 percent of the vote in the Hays County Emergency Services District No. 6 jurisdiction — about 35,000 voters live within the roughly 244 square-mile...
Steve Thurber, Allison Davis win Wimberley City Council races

Steve Thurber, Allison Davis win Wimberley City Council races

Wimberley City Council candidates Steve Thurber, former Wimberley mayor, and Allison Davis have won seats, according to unofficial final voting results. Thurber, running for a Place 1 seat, ended up with 59 percent of the vote over Sally Trapp, interior designer and currently a council member in Place 3. Davis, a licensed professional counselor running for the Place 3 seat, ended up with 61 percent...
West Lake Hills: South wins election to Place 3 on City Council

West Lake Hills: South wins election to Place 3 on City Council

Beth South defeated Ambrose Krumpe in the West Lake Hills City Council election for Place 3 with approximately 86 percent of the votes, 165-27. South led after early voting results by a margin of 123-12. South said by email on Election Night that she is grateful for the voter support and for the questions and comments from resident during her campaign. “I’m so pleased to have earned the...
FINAL RESULTS: San Marcos voters approve public safey, library bonds

FINAL RESULTS: San Marcos voters approve public safey, library bonds

San Marcos residents have passed a $31.7 million bond package — the first in more than a decade — for public safety improvements and a library expansion, according to final unofficial returns from Saturday’s election. The $17.2 million bond for public safety improvements passed with 76 percent of the vote, while the $14.5 million library bond passed with 77 percent of the vote. Police...
Dwayne Ariola wins Taylor City Council race

Dwayne Ariola wins Taylor City Council race

Dwayne Ariola, a vice president for a concrete company, won the race for the Taylor City Council. He received 748 votes while his opponent Gary Gola got 590 votes. Gola is the owner of a real estate agency. Both Ariola and Gola had never previously run for political office. They ran for a seat held by Taylor Mayor Jesse Ancira Jr., who chose not to seek re-election. The Taylor City Council will now...
Hutto council race will head to runoff between Rose, Wilcott

Hutto council race will head to runoff between Rose, Wilcott

The three-way race for the Hutto City Council seat in Place 1 is headed to a runoff. Scott Rose, a firefighter for Fort Hood, will face off against Dana Wilcott, who works with at-risk children for the Hutto School District, based on the unofficial final results of Saturday’s election. Rose received 217 votes, or nearly 45 percent, while Wilcott got 145 votes, or nearly 30 percent. The third...
Georgetown incumbents win their elections

Georgetown incumbents win their elections

Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross and City Council Member Rachael Jonrowe both won their races for re-election. Political newcomer Valerie Nicholson also beat her opponent to win a place on the council. Ross received overwhelming support for his second term as mayor with 3,442 votes, while his opponent, Sherwin Kahn, a retired chiropractor and social activist, got 1,323 votes. Read the back story on the...
FINAL: Three incumbents re-elected to Bee Cave City Council

FINAL: Three incumbents re-elected to Bee Cave City Council

The three incumbent candidates in the Bee Cave City Council election can rest easy in their council chairs, having won against two opponents by a comfortable margin. Council Member Kara King proved most popular with 33.62 percent of the vote, or 586 votes, followed by Council Member Marie Lowman with 483 votes, or 27.71 percent of the vote, and then Council Member Monty Parker with 465 votes, or 26...
Two newcomers beat incumbents in Cedar Park council races

Two newcomers beat incumbents in Cedar Park council races

Two political newcomers won their races against two incumbent Cedar Park City Council members Saturday. Anne Duffy earned 2,004 votes to defeat Place 3 Council Member Lyle Grimes, who got 1,471 votes. Heather Jefts received 2,007 votes to oust Place 5 Council Member Jon Lux, who got 1,476 votes. Duffy is a registered nurse and Jefts owns a swim coaching business. Both of the winners have previously...
Lakeway final vote count: Bond barely passes, incumbents keep seats

Lakeway final vote count: Bond barely passes, incumbents keep seats

Lakeway’s proposed $23 million police station bond eked by with 50.19 percent of the vote and City Council members Ron Massa and Bridge Bertram kept their seats in the city election held Saturday. The razor-thin victory for the police station bond — it passed by eight votes out of 2,116 ballots cast — will allow the plans for a new Lakeway police station to start moving forward....
Polls open on Election Day for many cities in Austin area

Polls open on Election Day for many cities in Austin area

Today is Election Day, with municipal elections 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 propositions: • Proposition...
Bonds will help local school districts with growth

Bonds will help local school districts with growth

Saturday is Election Day for several Central Texas school districts and cities. Though the date may have escaped the minds of many, as is often the case in nonpresidential elections, it is an important one with important local issues on the ballots. They range from selecting the next mayor to deciding on school bonds and choosing local school board members. As Central Texas continues to grow, more...
Herman: Texas Democrats hope to win Saturday nonpartisan elections

Herman: Texas Democrats hope to win Saturday nonpartisan elections

Saturday’s the big election day, the day that definitively begins the big turnaround that, politically speaking, moves Texas from red to purple to blue. At least that’s what Texas Democrats, members of a party that’s had little reason to party since prior to the turn of this century, want us to believe. Yes, we’ve heard this before. First, we must deal with this fact: You didn&rsquo...
Taylor council candidates agree city needs to attract businesses. jobs

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...
Campaign signs on Southwestern University campus spark debate

Campaign signs on Southwestern University campus spark debate

Whether a candidate for the Georgetown City Council violated election laws by posting her signs Monday on the Southwestern University campus was at the center of a debate this week. “According to several residents, self described ‘liberal Democrat’ Place 6 candidate Rachael Jonrowe possibly violated election laws concerning electioneering,” said the Wilco Report, an online...
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...
Supreme Court to hear potentially landmark case on partisan gerrymandering

Supreme Court to hear potentially landmark case on partisan gerrymandering

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court declared Monday that it will consider whether gerrymandered election maps favoring one political party over another violate the Constitution, a potentially fundamental change in the way American elections are conducted. The justices regularly are called to invalidate state electoral maps that have been illegally drawn to reduce the influence of racial minorities...
Fact checker: Do voter ID laws help or hurt voter turnout?

Fact checker: Do voter ID laws help or hurt voter turnout?

"Voter turnout in 2016 was reduced by approx. 200,000 votes because of WI's photo ID laws." "Look, in Kansas, for example, we put our photo ID law in place in 2012. So, if you want to test the effect on participation, you look at the 2010 election and the 2014, which we did. In the rest of the country, participation dropped severely between 2010 and 2014. In our neighboring states,...
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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