Category: Elections

Update on Sec. of State Nomination Process

Last week, the Texas Senate Committee on Nominations heard testimony from David Whitley, Governor Abbott’s nominee for Secretary of State. During the hearing, Whitely claimed that the definition of voter suppression was “irrelevant” and admitted that the voter list his office released may in fact have contained flawed data.

 

Democrats want to protect the integrity of our election system — and that means we call out voter intimidation and voter suppression. It’s not too much to ask for our state’s chief election officer to get his facts straight and refrain from fear-mongering.

 

Speaking of people who can’t get their facts straight, President Trump will be making a campaign stop in El Paso tonight. El Paso is one of the safest cities in America, and it has been for decades.  No matter how many false statements the President makes, that fact will not change. The House Democratic Caucus stands with El Paso and all of our border communities, and we will continue to send the message that Trump’s demagoguery has no place in our great state. We hope all Texans will do the same.

Texas Republicans Lay Groundwork for Voter Purge w/o Evidence

Late last Friday, Sec. of State David Whitley and Attorney General Ken Paxton announced, without evidence, that tens of thousands of non-citizens in Texas — at some point after having requested a driver’s license — voted. In the statement, Whitley issued a request to county election officials to review these voters as “WEAK” matches [all-caps by the state].

 

According to the Texas Tribune, this means “counties may now choose to investigate the eligibility of the individuals who were flagged, which would require them to send a notice asking for proof of citizenship within 30 days, or take no action.”

 

Let’s be clear: these accusations do nothing to further citizens’ trust in the electoral process. 

 

Furthermore, these claims should be taken with great skepticism. State officials provided no documentation for their claims, relying on data from the Texas Department of Public Safety. As you know, DPS’ data can’t be automatically trusted. In 2012, the Houston Chronicle found that the state’s effort to purge voters was based on countless errors:

 

“State election officials repeatedly and mistakenly matched active longtime Texas voters to deceased strangers across the country – some of whom perished more than a decade ago – in an error-ridden effort to purge dead voters just weeks before the presidential election, according to a Houston Chronicle review of records. 

 

Voters in legislative districts across Texas with heavy concentrations of Hispanics or African-Americans were more often targeted in that flawed purge effort, according the Chronicle’s analysis of more than 68,000 voters identified as possibly dead.”

 

Conservatives in the Texas Republican party have a long history of discrimination and voter intimidation, as federal courts have repeatedly ruled in recent years. This weekend’s claims are just another shameful attempt at discrediting the will of Texas voters in the 2018 election.

 

These partisan efforts at voter suppression are happening across the country, too:

 

 

It’s time for Texas Republicans to end these voter suppression efforts, and stop making claims without evidence as an excuse to cancel voter registrations. For House Democrats, our focus will be to continue our fight for every Texan to enjoy their right to vote free of discrimination and intimidation.

With election wins, Texas House Democrats become central factor in Speaker’s race

“The Democrats are shopping. They’re buyers in this market, and they’re going to be empowered to find somebody who’s going to give them a good deal,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor and analyst from the University of Houston.

— “Democrat wins will shift the race for Texas House speaker,” Houston Chronicle

 

This week’s historic elections will re-make the Texas House for the coming session. Texas voters embraced Democrats’ positive vision, promoting real solutions for all Texans on critical issues such as public education, affordable health care, and a stronger economy for everyone.

 

Voters at the ballot box sent a strong message: the next Speaker will be elected only with bipartisan support, and House Democrats will be a central part of that decision.

 

The HDC congratulates all of its new Democratic members, as well as its returning members, and looks forward to working with each and every one of them in the next Legislature toward a better future for all Texans.

Voting begins today — here’s what is at stake

Today, as we begin early voting in Texas, we are reminded of just what’s at stake in the coming election.

 

A ruling late Thursday from a 3-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that Texas’ foster care system, as managed by the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS), remains in dire straits, even after improvements made by the Texas Legislature during the 85th Regular Session. The 5th Circuit Court ruled that the State of Texas continues to violate the Constitutional Rights of children in the state’s care by having an inadequate number of caseworkers and other protections against abuse.

 

In the 86th Regular Session, our state budget will need to account for changes necessary to make improvements to our foster care system. Our priorities for next session will also include:

 

  • Revamping our school finance system, so we can invest more in Texas children while lowering property taxes for everyone

 

  • Transforming our health care system, including Medicaid managed care, to ensure all Texans have access to reliable, quality health care

 

  • Fully fund all rebuilding and recovery efforts from those impacted by Harvey, and improve planning and preparations for future natural disasters

 

Bill filing for the Texas Legislature starts in three weeks. The HDC looks forward to working with everyone to ensure our caucus is fully prepared to take a lead on these and other issues critical to all Texans who are headed to the polls in the coming weeks.

Tomorrow, Oct. 9th — Deadline to register to vote!

Tomorrow, October 9th, is the deadline to register to vote, and we encourage everyone to do all they can to spread that information far and wide. Click here to find the best website to push people to in order for them to get registered.

 

As of a few weeks ago, more than 15.6 million Texans were registered to vote — marking an 11-percent increase from the 2014 midterm elections. But there’s still plenty of people who need to register, and we should do all we can to ensure every voice is heard and everyone in Texas has the opportunity to enjoy their constitutional right to vote.

 

Share this voter registration site with your lists, social media pages, friends, family, and neighbors. Let’s turn Texas into a voting state!

Voter registration deadline is one month away

Texas’ voter registration deadline is October 9, 2018 — just one month away. The coming month is our chance to make sure all Texans are prepared and ready to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

 

The Secretary of State website has all the resources you need to register to vote, find out if you are registered, and the latest on what type of ID you may need to vote.

 

Members of the House Democratic Caucus have worked to improve access to voting for years. Unfortunately, Texas is still one of only 12 states without online voter registration, and Texas high schools aren’t following voter registration laws.

 

That’s why our education efforts are critical in the coming weeks. I encourage you to send out information about the registration deadline to all constituents, and to partner when possible with community organizations on voter registration drives. We must do all we can to make sure every Texan is eligible and able to vote.

Early Vote Update & Exposé on the Wilks Brothers

After the first week of early voting, there is good reason to be optimistic about what the 2018 elections will look like for Democrats in Texas.

According to the Houston Chronicle, early voting turnout in the Democratic primary in Texas’ 15 largest primaries is twice as high as it was this time in 2014. To help us continue pushing this trend, we are re-sharing the information about early voting from last week’s email below.

Additionally, in place of our normal member clips, we’ve pasted the feature from last Thursday’s Dallas Morning News on the GOP billionaire donors, the Wilks Brothers, who are using their fortune to push millions of dollars into extreme right-wing groups like Empower Texans and others. It is a very well researched feature that details how far some are willing to go to thwart any efforts for better education, improved health care, and a stronger economy for all Texans.

Abbott and His Armed Militia

Did Gov. Greg Abbott hire an armed paramilitary group to run security on a recent campaign stop?

That’s what Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, is trying to find out through two open records requests. The stop in question was held on July 15 in McAllen. When he stopped into the border town for lunch, the Rio Grande Guardian reported that the “Texas State Militia and McAllen Police Department were outside of the restaurant observing the protest.”

To continue reading the story go to the Austin Chronicle.

Texas redistricting plans ‘lacked process’ and excluded minorities, Dallas lawmaker testifies FILED UNDER

SAN ANTONIO — A Dallas state representative said in federal court that there was a lack of a legislative process during the 2013 special session that redrew some of Texas’ electoral maps under court order.

“As a legislator, when we are trying to solve a problem … generally what we’ll do is bring in people who have a stake in the situation,” said Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas. “I don’t recall anything like that happening in 2013 with respect to redistricting.

To continue reading this story go to the Dallas Morning News.

Editorial: Maybe feds need to supervise Texas elections

Two court rulings, one last month about how state legislators redrew congressional districts in 2011 and one this week about the restrictive voter ID law adopted that same year, stand a good chance of landing Texas back under required federal review of any future changes in its election laws or procedures.

Think about that. We’d need Washington’s blessing on almost every aspect of our elections.

We’ve been there before — for decades.

We only got off the federal review list when the Supreme Court struck a match to it in 2013, ruling that the Voting Rights Act procedure for determining who was on the list was so outdated as to be unfair.

To continue reading this story, please visit the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.