Travis County Election News

Editorial: Travis County voters must check their ballot’s paper trail

Editorial: Travis County voters must check their ballot’s paper trail

The most critical piece of any election is getting the results right. That simple goal involves highly complex logistics when it comes to voting equipment. Travis County has hundreds of different ballot combinations tailored to voters in different congressional, legislative and local districts, making preprinted paper ballots an unwieldy option — particularly in a county where any voter can...
Texas.gov going under two-day maintenance after crash this week

Texas.gov going under two-day maintenance after crash this week

7:30 p.m. Friday: Texas’ official website crashed earlier this week because of server restarts that caused “a high number of connections to build up,” according to the Department of Information Resources. The department also announced that Texas.gov applications will be under maintenance from 8 p.m. Friday through 8 p.m. Sunday. “This temporary shutdown is part of a larger...
Travis County approves purchase of $8M paper-trail voting system

Travis County approves purchase of $8M paper-trail voting system

It might not be the first-of-its-kind, open-source software voting system that Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has sought for more than a decade, but the county will have a voting system with a paper trail by the November 2019 election. Travis County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved the purchase of an about $8.2 million electronic voting system with paper backup from Election Systems...
Petition that calls for efficiency audit of Austin City Hall validated

Petition that calls for efficiency audit of Austin City Hall validated

Yet another citizen petition appears primed to appear on November’s ballot. The Austin City Clerk’s office validated a petition Friday that will ask Austin voters if the city should have an outside party conduct a one-time audit of government efficiency at City Hall. More than 30,000 people signed the petition, and the signatures of 20,000 registered voters were needed to trigger an initiative...
CodeNext election solidifies as campaign issue for candidates

CodeNext election solidifies as campaign issue for candidates

The question of whether the court ruling a week ago that ordered the Austin City Council to put the CodeNext petition ordinance on November’s ballot would affect campaign rhetoric was answered within hours. The anti-CodeNext political action committee IndyAustin made it clear three hours after the ruling was handed down July 16. Yes, the PAC said, supporters of the petition should remember which...
Austin Mayor Adler’s fundraising tops $574,000, Morrison raises $92,000

Austin Mayor Adler’s fundraising tops $574,000, Morrison raises $92,000

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has raised $291,500 for his re-election campaign since January, plus more than $283,000 in late 2017, easily eclipsing rival Laura Morrison’s fundraising. Adler’s latest campaign finance report filed Monday showed that the mayor’s fundraising has continued unabated since his re-election campaign began last year. Since the start of 2018, his campaign has garnered...
Texas ethics commission fines consultant over political attack website

Texas ethics commission fines consultant over political attack website

The Texas Ethics Commission has fined a Travis County political consultant who the commission says created a deceptive website to attack a candidate running last year to be chairman of the Travis County Democratic Party, according to a recent ruling. The website was created in October and featured some of former candidate Mike Lewis’ old Facebook posts from when he used to be a Republican. Another...
Ethics commission fines Travis County consultant over political attack website 

Ethics commission fines Travis County consultant over political attack website 

The Texas Ethics Commission has fined a Travis County political consultant who the commission says created a deceptive website to attack a candidate running last year to be chairman of the Travis County Democratic Party, according to a recent ruling.  The website was created in October and featured some of former candidate Mike Lewis’ old Facebook posts from when he used to be a Republican...
Election Digest: Lawyer edges out associate judge in 459th court race

Election Digest: Lawyer edges out associate judge in 459th court race

TRAVIS COUNTY Attorney wins Travis County Democratic 459th court primary Maya Guerra Gamble has won the Democratic nomination for Travis County’s new 459th Civil District Court. In a close race, Guerra Gamble earned 25,122 votes, 51 percent, to Aurora Martinez Jones’ 23,962 votes. Turnout in Travis County for the primary runoffs was just 8.5 percent, compared with 21 percent in March for...
Maya Guerra Gamble wins Travis County Democratic 459th court primary

Maya Guerra Gamble wins Travis County Democratic 459th court primary

Maya Guerra Gamble has won the Democratic nomination for Travis County’s new 459th Civil District Court. In a close race, Guerra Gamble earned 25,122 votes, 51 percent, to Aurora Martinez Jones’ 23,962 votes. Turnout in Travis County for the primary runoffs was just 8.5 percent, compared with 21 percent in March for the regular primary election. Martinez Jones, an associate judge, emerged...
Joseph Kopser to face Chip Roy in 21st Congressional District matchup

Joseph Kopser to face Chip Roy in 21st Congressional District matchup

Update 10:15 p.m.: Chip Roy has won the Republican nomination in the 21st Congressional District. He will face Joseph Kopser, the winner of the Democratic nomination, in the November general election. Roy won 52.7 percent of the vote and Kopser won 58 percent of the vote in their respective primaries. RELATED: Central Texas congressional matchups take shape Update 9:45 p.m.: The Associated Press has...
Though runoff is still ahead, Andrew White focuses on Greg Abbott

Though runoff is still ahead, Andrew White focuses on Greg Abbott

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White offered a preview Wednesday night of how he’d run against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, though White has one hurdle to clear before the pair can appear on the same ballot in November: his primary opponent, Lupe Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff. At a Lake Travis Democrats-sponsored event that drew more than 100 people Wednesday, White hit...
After dismal early voting turnout, Travis County clerk asks voters: ‘Where are you???’

After dismal early voting turnout, Travis County clerk asks voters: ‘Where are you???’

Reporting on the dismal turnout during the first day of early voting for the Texas primary runoff election, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir posed an urgent question to voters: “Where are you???” This is the question DeBeauvoir opened with as she announced Tuesday on Facebook that “an underwhelming 1.31 (percent) of registered voters cast ballots” on the first...
TODAY: Early voting for primary runoff elections begins, runs through Friday

TODAY: Early voting for primary runoff elections begins, runs through Friday

Early voting for Texas primary runoff elections start Monday and will continue through Friday – no voting will occur on the weekend. The formal Election Day for the runoffs is on May 22. You might be asking: Didn’t we just have an election? Yes, on March 6, Texans voted in primary races for statewide and federal offices. But in dozens of those races, no candidate won more than 50 percent...
Forum reveals few differences between Cole, Vela on economic issues

Forum reveals few differences between Cole, Vela on economic issues

A forum focused on business and economic issues largely revealed little daylight Wednesday between Texas House District 46 Democratic candidates Sheryl Cole and Jose “Chito” Vela. That daylight, though, shone brightly in their answers to the first question: How much money should the state place in the Texas Enterprise Fund, a “deal-closing” fund that encourages companies to...
Forum reveals few differences between Cole, Vela on economic issues

Forum reveals few differences between Cole, Vela on economic issues

A forum focused on business and economic issues largely revealed little daylight Wednesday between Texas House District 46 Democratic candidates Sheryl Cole and Jose “Chito” Vela. That daylight, though, shone brightly in their answers to the first question: How much money should the state place in the Texas Enterprise Fund, a “deal-closing” fund that encourages companies to...
Cole and Vela take their last shots as House District 46 runoff election nears

Cole and Vela take their last shots as House District 46 runoff election nears

Chito Vela and Sheryl Cole, the two remaining Democratic candidates to represent House District 46 in the state Capitol, are debating tonight in advance of the May 22 runoff election. A crowd of about 100 people showed up for the forum hosted by the Texas Tribune. The candidates’ talk has touched on transportation and housing concerns impacting the largely Democratic district that covers parts...
A roundup of Central Texas May 5 election results

A roundup of Central Texas May 5 election results

TRAVIS COUNTY LAKE TRAVIS SCHOOLS Incumbent, two newcomers win school board races Lake Travis school board incumbent Guy C. Clayton will keep his Place 1 seat, and two newcomers will join him on the board after winning elections Saturday. Clayton garnered 2,687 votes, 75 percent of the ballots cast in his race against David Lovelace. Nine candidates ran for two open seats on the board. Lauren White...
Sandy Cox wins Lakeway mayor race; Smith and Trecker win council seats

Sandy Cox wins Lakeway mayor race; Smith and Trecker win council seats

Sandy Cox won the three-way Lakeway mayor’s race, two council members were elected and all but one of the city charter amendments were approved in the May 5 election. But the new mayor’s term will last just one year as the city makes changes to term lengths to comply with a directive from the Texas Secretary of State. Cox won the mayoral contest with 1,265 votes, or 38 percent of the vote...
FINAL: Sandy Cox wins three-way mayor’s race in Lakeway

FINAL: Sandy Cox wins three-way mayor’s race in Lakeway

10:30 p.m. update: Sandy Cox won the three-way Lakeway mayor’s race, with 1,265 votes (37.88 percent). Tiffany McMillan place second with 885 votes (29.54 percent) and Jean Hennagin finished third with 846 votes (28.24 percent). Lakeway residents also voted on two City Council seats as well as deciding the fate of seven proposed amendments. RELATED: 3 candidates for Lakeway mayor weigh in on...
Lake Travis ISD: Guy Clayton, Lauren White, Jessica Putonti win seats

Lake Travis ISD: Guy Clayton, Lauren White, Jessica Putonti win seats

9:30 p.m. UPDATE: Unofficial final results show Lake Travis school board Place 1 incumbent Guy C. Clayton will keep his seat. Clayton garnered 2,687 votes, or 75 percent of the vote. David Lovelace, who has made five previous bids for school board, received 886 votes, or 25 percent. In Place 2, Lauren White won the seat with 1,725 votes, or 44 percent. Jan Moreland followed with 1,223 votes or 31...
Eleven candidates crowd three Lake Travis school board races

Eleven candidates crowd three Lake Travis school board races

The Lake Travis school board has three seats up for grabs, drawing 11 candidates, including a husband and wife who were once sued by the district for filing voluminous public records requests for documents regarding spending and administrative decisions. Known as a high-performing district, the 10,387-student Lake Travis is grappling with booming growth, and expects nearly 3,000 additional students...
5 things you need to know about early voting before the May 5 election

5 things you need to know about early voting before the May 5 election

Early voting started this week and ends Tuesday before the May 5 election day. Here’s what you need to know: 1. What’s on the ballot? Races in Central Texas cover the spectrum of city council, school district and city proposition elections. The cities of Bee Cave, Cedar Park, Lakeway, Leander, Liberty Hill and Wimberley are all electing a mayor and council members. Round Rock residents...
Austin City Council gets first look at proposed $851 million bond

Austin City Council gets first look at proposed $851 million bond

The Austin City Council on Tuesday got its first look at a proposed $851 million bond that could be brought before voters in November. With a proposed price tag that is about the same as the Tampa Bay Rays’ current value, the 2018 bond aims to focus on affordable housing, parks, building maintenance, stormwater and transportation infrastructure. On Election Day, the bond could take shape in...
Austin’s only historically black legislative seat at risk in run-off

Austin’s only historically black legislative seat at risk in run-off

As a half-dozen pastors of African-American churches picked at eggs and sausage in a small back room at Denny’s, Sheryl Cole told them that she might lose the Democratic run-off for Texas House District 46 to Jose “Chito” Vela III. The ministers didn’t need to be reminded of the stakes, but Cole and her campaign team drove it home: If she comes up short, there will be no African-American...
Austin attorney Eldridge beats longtime judge in 331st District race

Austin attorney Eldridge beats longtime judge in 331st District race

Prior to her 2-1 victory in the primary race against longtime 331st District Judge David Crain, defense attorney Chantal Eldridge faced a “David and Goliath”-proportion battle, according to her campaign treasurer, Leslie Boykin. Crain, who did not respond to requests for comment, has run the 331st District felony court since 2010. His campaign raised more than $40,000, almost 20 times...
Chantal Eldridge defeats longtime State District Judge David Crain

Chantal Eldridge defeats longtime State District Judge David Crain

Defense lawyer Chantal Eldridge has clinched the 331st criminal district court race against longtime Judge David Crain. Eldridge secured 69.26 percent of the vote while Crain got 30.74 percent. On the campaign trail, Eldridge criticized Crain’s work ethic, pointing to statistics from Dec. 8 that showed defendants in his court had averaged 129 days in jail awaiting the resolution of their case...
Travis Commissioner Gómez wins; Limon-Mercado is new Democratic chair

Travis Commissioner Gómez wins; Limon-Mercado is new Democratic chair

11:38 p.m. update: With the final tally of the night, Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gómez secured re-election with 67.37 percent of the vote. She does not face a Republican challenger in November. In the tight race for the Travis County Democratic Party chair, Dyana Limon-Mercado won the seat with 51.5 percent of the vote, edging out Anne Wynne. On the GOP side, former Travis County Republican...
HD 46 primary headed for run-off without 12-term Rep. Dawnna Dukes

HD 46 primary headed for run-off without 12-term Rep. Dawnna Dukes

Jose “Chito” Vela and Sheryl Cole are heading to a May runoff in the House District 46 Democratic Primary race. Vela picked up 39 percent of the vote, with Cole receiving 38 percent. A candidate needs at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff. All votes have been counted. Dawnna Dukes, who has represented the district for 24 years, received 10 percent of the vote. For more State...
UPDATE: Several Travis Co. polling places have wait times of at least 20 minutes

UPDATE: Several Travis Co. polling places have wait times of at least 20 minutes

1:55 p.m. update: At least six polling places in Travis County have voters standing in line for 20 minutes or more, according to a county website tracking wait times. The real-time tracker shows wait times of 20 minutes or more at: Travis County tax offices, 15822 Foothill Farms Loop in Pflugerville, which has 10 voting booths. Travis County offices at 5501 Airport Blvd. in Central Austin...
Judicial candidate Chantal Eldridge’s accuser says he’s ready to testify

Judicial candidate Chantal Eldridge’s accuser says he’s ready to testify

An attorney for a man who accused a judicial candidate of having sex with him as a 16-year-old foreign exchange student will have a news conference Friday morning to say that he is prepared to testify against her. The man, who is now 27 and lives in Brazil, has hired former prosecutor Allison Wetzel to represent him. He claimed in 2006 that he and Chantal Eldridge had sex after an evening of...
Incumbent Dawnna Dukes lags as rivals raise funds in House District 46

Incumbent Dawnna Dukes lags as rivals raise funds in House District 46

While her two biggest challengers continue to raise and spend money in the final countdown to the Democratic primary election, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes continues to do little of both. Dukes brought in $10,000 and spent about $12,000, according to a campaign finance report that covers a 30-day period that ended Saturday. The report is in line with previous ones from this election season that revealed...
Judicial candidate Eldridge was accused of having sex with student, 16

Judicial candidate Eldridge was accused of having sex with student, 16

A state district judicial candidate in Travis County was accused by a 16-year-old foreign exchange student of having sex with him while he stayed in her home — an accusation that the candidate, Chantal Eldridge, denies. Eldridge, a criminal defense lawyer who is running to be judge of the 331st Criminal District Court, was investigated by Austin police for several months after the student&rsquo...
Early voting starts Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know.

Early voting starts Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know.

Early voting starts today for the Democratic and Republican party primaries. Here are five things to know before you go to the polls: 1. Your vote matters. Both parties are picking their contenders for a half-dozen congressional seats in Central Texas, as well as governor, lieutenant governor, state legislative seats, judicial posts and county commissioners courts. In many cases, though, the seats...
Contentious 331st District race pits longtime judge against attorney

Contentious 331st District race pits longtime judge against attorney

The only contested judicial race in Travis County’s criminal district courts has gotten contentious, with challenger Chantal Eldridge saying taxpayers have been underserved by the incumbent while Eldridge faces questions of her own about the registered sex offender she employs in her law firm and intends to bring on as a judicial aide if she wins. Eldridge, a 53-year-old career defense lawyer...
Susan Steeg faces Democratic challenger in justice of the peace race

Susan Steeg faces Democratic challenger in justice of the peace race

Handling traffic citations, eviction or debt collection cases might not sound like the sexiest job on the ballot this March, but both Democratic Precinct 3 justice of the peace candidates said the job offers a unique chance to help residents. “Most people overlook JP court,” said Sylvia Holmes, associate director at the University of Texas’ Legal Services for Students. “But...
Court-at-Law No. 3 judge faces Democratic challenger

Court-at-Law No. 3 judge faces Democratic challenger

As Travis County faces racial disparities in its jails, both Democratic judicial candidates for Court-at-Law No. 3 said tackling the issue will be among the biggest challenges for the winner. This summer, the civil rights organization Grassroots Leadership revealed that, according to an analysis of 2015 jail booking data, African-Americans on average stayed in the Travis County Jail nearly twice as...
New program expands voter registration effort at Travis County Jail

New program expands voter registration effort at Travis County Jail

The Travis County sheriff’s office on Monday began training about two dozen volunteers to help an underrepresented population register to vote — county jail inmates — as part of a new effort to increase Texas participation in elections. Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant said the vast majority of the county’s jail inmates are eligible to vote, because they are either...
New program expands voter registration effort at Travis County Jail

New program expands voter registration effort at Travis County Jail

About two dozen Travis County sheriff’s office volunteers on Monday received training to help an underrepresented population register to vote — county jail inmates — as part of a new initiative to increase Texas participation in elections. Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant said the vast majority of the county’s jail inmates are eligible to vote, either because they...
Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ challengers nab Democratic support in HD 46 primary

Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ challengers nab Democratic support in HD 46 primary

With less than a month to go before the March 6 Democratic primary, 12-term incumbent state Rep. Dawnna Dukes has a campaign that’s deep in debt and short on buzz while her challengers gain ground among Democratic groups in the House District 46 race. Sheryl Cole, a former Austin City Council member, has gotten endorsements from notable Austin Democrats including state Sen. Kirk Watson, U.S...
Del Valle school board member takes on longtime Travis commissioner

Del Valle school board member takes on longtime Travis commissioner

A Del Valle school district board member promising to bring renewed energy will face off against longtime Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gómez in the Democratic primary March 6 to represent southeastern Travis County. But Susanna Woody faces an uphill battle. Gómez has the name recognition that comes with serving as the Precinct 4 commissioner since 1995. She’s surpassed Woody...
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt endorses Sheryl Cole in HD 46 race

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt endorses Sheryl Cole in HD 46 race

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is siding against longtime state Rep. Dawnna Dukes in the Democratic primary, announcing Tuesday an endorsement for Dukes’ challenger Sheryl Cole. Eckhardt, who presides over the county’s Commissioner’s Court, released a statement through Cole’s campaign, saying residents of Dukes’ House District 46 “deserve to share in the prosperity...
Log Cabin Republicans push for acceptance in Travis County GOP

Log Cabin Republicans push for acceptance in Travis County GOP

When the president of Log Cabin Republicans of Austin, an advocacy group of LGBT Republicans, was nominated last month to be a precinct chair for the Travis County Republican Party, some members shifted in their seats. One woman with eyebrows furrowed scribbled a note with the word “gay” and passed it to a fellow precinct chair. Michael Cargill, a Second Amendment activist and gun shop...
New 459th district judge’s seat draws three candidates

New 459th district judge’s seat draws three candidates

No matter what happens in the March 6 Democratic primary, Aurora Martinez Jones will come out of it as a judge. She presently holds the title of Travis County associate court judge, charged with taking on cases whenever the county’s state District Court judges need a hand. She was hired to the nonelected position when the Commissioners Court created it in 2014. But Martinez Jones wants a bigger...
Hohengarten faces two challengers in County Court-at-Law No. 5 race

Hohengarten faces two challengers in County Court-at-Law No. 5 race

Travis County Judge Nancy Hohengarten is facing her first contested election since 14 years ago, when she took the bench in Court-at-Law No. 5. Her opponents in the Democratic primary say a change is needed in the court’s leadership, pointing to decisions Hohengarten made in trials last year that rankled some members of the defense bar. But while challengers McKinley Melancon and Mario Flores...
Dawnna Dukes’ campaign racks up $730,000 in debt as challengers rise

Dawnna Dukes’ campaign racks up $730,000 in debt as challengers rise

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ re-election campaign is off to a rocky start, as the veteran Austin Democrat has accrued more than $730,000 in outstanding loans, raised just $2,250 in recent months and has lost two dozen past supporters who have flipped their allegiance to former Austin City Council Member Sheryl Cole, one of Dukes’ five primary challengers. Cole, meanwhile, raised $91,483 in...
Sheryl Cole raises $232,000, emerges as top threat to Rep. Dukes

Sheryl Cole raises $232,000, emerges as top threat to Rep. Dukes

Former Austin City Council member Sheryl Cole has emerged as the biggest Democratic primary threat to beleaguered state Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ 12-term tenure representing House District 46. An ethics commission report filed before Tuesday’s deadline shows Cole had raised $91,483 since mid-August, according to her campaign manager, André Treiber, who said another $23,831 was unofficial...
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