Texas Decides | KERA News

Texas Decides

Texas Decides is a statewide voters guide and a crowdsourced statewide reporting project where listeners decide what stories you'd like us to tell and what questions you'd like us to answer. It comes from the Texas Station Collaborative, which includes KERA, KUT in Austin, Houston Public MediaTexas Public Radio in San Antonio and Marfa Public Radio

The project started in fall 2016. Leading up to the election, public radio reporters across Texas investigated listener-submitted questions related to national, statewide and local politics. 

During the 85th Legislature and special session, stations teamed up again to help listeners understand the complicated lawmaking process in Texas. And this is an ongoing project through the 2018 elections.

You can listen to stories from the collaborative on the Texas Standard at 10 a.m. every weekday on KERA  and stations across the state.

Texas Station Collaborative

For the last few weeks, we’ve been asking what you wanted to know about the Texas Legislature: How it works, why it works the way it does and what you want lawmakers to do.  

The Texas Legislature gaveled in just a few short weeks ago. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Today's question comes from Sammi Curless: 

What powers to govern are assigned to the governor versus the lieutenant governor versus the Texas Legislature?

The Texas Legislature gaveled in just a few short weeks ago. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Paul Woolrich via flickr

While Donald Trump won Texas handily, Hillary Clinton won most of the state’s big cities. Dallas County went blue by a big margin, and Democrats dominated local races. While they flipped a handful of state house seats, Democrats fell short of the gains they had hoped for. In Dallas County, just one seat moved from red to blue.

Samantha Guzman / KERA News

The excitement at the Dallas County GOP watch party cranked up a notch each time a state was called for Donald Trump. Republican leaders and GOP supporters celebrated a race that stunned them all.

A ballroom at the Westin Dallas Park Central erupted with cheers each time Donald Trump’s electoral vote total ticked up.

Last week we launched TXDecides, our collaborative project with public radio newsrooms across the state. The goal was simple: Answer Texas voters' questions ahead of Election Day. Y'all had lots of questions. So many, in fact, that we had to pare down the questions to a scant five.

Luckily, we culled some of the remaining questions and decided to answer them as best we could. 

Since 1972, Texas has had a lower voter turnout rate than the national rate for presidential elections.

Jacqueline Mermea / The Texas Tribune

Any registered voter may vote early in person. To vote early by mail, applications for a ballot were due Oct. 28. To get your vote counted, submit your completed mail-in ballot to your county's voter registrar office by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8.

Why Is Voter Turnout So Low In Texas?

Oct 28, 2016
Erik Hersman / Flickr

In recent years, voter turnout in Texas has been...well, let’s just say not everything is bigger here. State voter turnout has been below the national average for the past few decades, regularly falling below 50 percent.

PHOTOS BY THE TEXAS TRIBUNE AND GAGE SKIDMORE

It’s no secret Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two of the most disliked major party nominees to ever run for President. That has some Texans searching for other options…any options…when it comes to our next commander and chief. Austinite Kaia Tingley asked: “Can we vote for either Libertarian or Green Party candidates in Texas?”

Shutterstock

Voters continued to turn out in record-breaking numbers across North Texas and the state on the second day of early voting Tuesday.

Shutterstock

All 36 of Texas’ congressional seats are on the ballot this fall, but only one of those races is considered truly competitive. The vast majority of state House and Senate races aren’t particularly competitive, either. One big reason: A lot of the state's districts are drawn to give one party or the other a big majority.

ProPublica

A record-breaking number of voters cast their ballots early across Texas. That's good news for democracy, but the high turnout on opening day of early voting wasn't without incident, including long lines throughout the state, inaccurate voter ID signs and machine snafus in Denton County. 

In Some Texas Counties, Long Lines Complicate Early Voting

Oct 25, 2016
Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Avoiding long lines on Election Day is supposed to be one of the benefits of voting early, but on the first official day to cast ballots in Texas, some parts of the state reported long waits — sometimes hours — along with a few other snafus.

How Secure Is Electronic Voting In Texas?

Oct 25, 2016
Al Ortiz / Houston Public Media

With talk of rigging and stolen elections, people are more concerned than usual about whether their vote will count. 

Why Is Texas So Red, And How Did It Get That Way?

Oct 24, 2016
JORGE SANHUEZA-LYON / KUT

We all know Texas is a red state. Democrats haven't won a statewide election since 1994, and Republicans have carried the state in every presidential election since 1976.

Shutterstock

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off tonight in the third and last presidential debate. Follow along as we hear reactions and commentary from fellow Texans. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with #TXDecides.

From Texas Standard:

Undecided voters are no myth. So who are they?

Blanca Morales, like 84 million others, tuned in last week to watch the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But it didn’t help her decide who she’ll pick on Election Day. If anything, it complicated matters.

 


KERA asked for questions about this year's election, and you delivered! Over the past few months, your public radio stations across Texas have compiled queries from voters all over the state. It’s part of a project we're calling "Texas Decides."

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