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Waylon Cunningham for the Texas Tribune

Handing the state another voting rights loss, a federal judge has sided with a civil rights group that claimed Texas violated federal law by failing to register residents to vote when they updated their drivers’ license information online.

On Nov. 8, 2016, Crystal Mason got out of work and drove through the rain to her home in Dallas. She walked through the door and tried to settle in for the evening. But her mother delivered something akin to a scolding.

"You have to go vote!" Mason's mother said, according to her attorney, J. Warren St. John, who spoke to NPR.

Rachel Osier Lindley / KERA News

Dallas County prosecutors are investigating possible fraud regarding more than 1,200 mail-in ballot applications for the 2018 elections. 

During early voting in the primaries, a theme developed around what was happening in Texas. The narrative became that Democrats ­– perhaps improbably – were outpacing Republicans at the polls. Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz sounded the alarm to Republicans.

Updated on March 5 at 7:13 p.m. ET

The 2018 primary elections kick off this week, and Democrats are already seeing reasons to be excited deep in the red, beating heart of Texas.

From Texas Standard.

There are a lot of stereotypes about Texas but the one about being the reddest of the red states may be about to become less accurate. Karen Tumulty is a veteran reporter – now political columnist – for the Washington Post. In her latest column she writes Texas could turn a little bit bluer in 2018.

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

It's indisputable that Texas has a depressing voter turnout history.

Year after year, the state ranks near the bottom in electoral participation, with turnout dipping even lower during non-presidential elections.

Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET

Pennsylvania will soon have new congressional maps.

The United States Supreme Court has decided not to block a state court ruling requiring Pennsylvania's Legislature to immediately redraw its legislative boundaries.

Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court had previously ruled those 18 congressional districts — drawn by a Republican Legislature and signed by a Republican governor in 2011 — were overly partisan and violated the state Constitution.

LinkedIn

A former board member of the Richardson Independent School District is suing the district.

David Tyson Jr. alleges that the district's at-large system violates the Voting Rights Act by denying “fair representation of African-Americans and other non-white voters.”

A federal court in Corpus Christi will hear a case Feb. 12 challenging the way Texas voters elect judges for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. Voters and civil rights groups challenging the system say it makes it harder for Latinos to be represented.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Texas has spent years defending its voting laws in court, regularly appealing rulings that found state lawmakers violated the rights of their voters. So when a federal appellate court in August ruled against the state’s restrictions on language interpreters at the ballot box, it was easy to assume an appeal would follow.

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Among the Nov. 7 ballot items in Dallas is a billion-dollar bond package of items ranging from streets, parks and libraries to homelessness and economic development. 

City Hall reporter Tristan Hallman of The Dallas Morning News said City Council originally had a tab as low as $600 million in mind.

The Texas Tribune

Most Texas voters don’t want to remove Confederate memorials or put them in museums, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

November’s election ballot is packed with lots of local items – from city council races to school bonds – but there are also seven proposals to amend the Texas Constitution.

Texas hasn’t been enforcing compliance with a 30-year-old law requiring public and private high schools to hand out voter registration applications to eligible students at least twice a school year, civil rights groups say.

The Supreme Court of the United States
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court has dealt a serious setback to those hoping Texas would see new congressional and House district maps ahead of the 2018 elections. 

Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

The state of Texas can use its revised voter ID measure for the 2018 November elections, a divided federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. 

Graphic by Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

Parts of the Texas House map must be redrawn ahead of the 2018 elections because lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities in crafting several legislative districts, federal judges ruled on Thursday. 

Jim Malewitz / The Texas Tribune

If Gov. Greg Abbott calls a second special legislative session this summer, it won’t be for redistricting.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Two months ago, Texas lawmakers quietly did something rare in this statehouse: They sent Gov. Greg Abbott a bill designed to make voting easier for thousands of Texans. Abbott praised that effort and ultimately signed the legislation that, in a rare moment of bipartisanship, both Democrats and Republicans supported.

JAMELAH E./FLICKR (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Even on issues where Republicans and Democrats agree on a problem, they differ on solutions. Case in point: mail-in ballot fraud.

Brendan Steinhauser, a political strategist living in Austin, uses the state’s voter file all the time.

“The voter file is quite simply a list of voters who are registered to vote,” he says. “You can also obtain their voting history to see if they have voted in past elections.”

Why One Of The Largest Counties In Texas Is Going Back To Paper Ballots

Jul 5, 2017
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Frank Phillips spent last Wednesday staring down 600 boxes of election materials — voted ballots, blank ballots, precinct records — sitting in a warehouse run by Denton County. After sitting in storage for the legally required periods — up to nearly two years in some cases — the roughly 24,000 pounds of paper were finally ready to be shredded.

From Texas Standard:

The end may be near for straight-ticket voting in Texas. House Bill 25, which would ban the practice, passed out of the Senate on Thursday. It's got one more stop in the lower chamber before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. Prominent Democrats are decrying the bill – saying it would dilute Democratic votes.

Federal Court Sets July Trial Date In Texas Redistricting Case

May 2, 2017
Graphic by Todd Wiseman

With the 2018 election cycle looming, a federal judge panel has set July 10 as the start date for a trial over the state’s House and congressional political maps.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Across North Texas, early voting is underway for the May 6 municipal elections. Members of city councils and school boards will be elected. They’ll direct how to spend billions of taxpayer dollars. There’s also a host of bond and tax issues on the ballot. But if the past is any indication, most people who can vote, won’t.

Shelby Knowles / Texas Tribune

Because of its growing Asian population, Tarrant County will now be required to provide election materials in Vietnamese.

The cemetery where women's suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony is buried extended its hours Tuesday "to accommodate those wishing to celebrate their vote" at her gravesite.

Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y., will be open until polls there close at 9 p.m. ET.

Although this presidential election is the first in American history to have a woman on the ballot as a major party candidate, it is not the first time people have commemorated their votes by visiting Anthony's grave.

The History Of Black Party Affiliation

Nov 8, 2016
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Historically, a majority of African Americans in the U.S. have voted Democrat. On Think, Krys Boyd talked with Corey D. Fields of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford about African Americans who lean Republican.

Christopher Connelly/KERA News

The United Hispanic Council of Tarrant County asked the U.S. Justice Department this week to investigate complaints of voter suppression among elderly Latino voters. The group alleges state investigators looking into mail-in voter fraud in the county are actually “creating an atmosphere of fear.”

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