Keyword: Ken Paxton

Fear and Loathing at the Ballot Box: Texas Data Points for the Week In Politics, September 26, 2020

| By: Jim Henson

The artifice and hyperbole inherent in the Hunter S. Thompson reference notwithstanding, the week's election news elicited genuine fear and sincere loathing. So with emotions high and the stakes for the political system even higher, this week’s post focuses on the escalating political fighting over the rules for the 2020 general election as voting procedures in Texas are being challenged on multiple fronts, and as the President all but promises that he will contest the outcome of the election if he doesn't win. On the same day that Donald Trump refused (the first time, anyway) to commit to accepting the results of the 2020 presidential election, a group of Texas Republicans was asking the Texas Supreme Court to reverse Governor Abbott’s extension of the early voting period. All of this overshadowed the state’s compliance this week with a federal court order requiring Texas to follow the 27-year old “motor voter” law by allowing Texans renewing their driver’s license online to also update their voter registration - a possible beachhead for belatedly bringing online voter registration to the state. As the week ended, the voting plot thickened still more, as the Texas Attorney General tried to highlight a voter fraud case involving absentee ballots in a primary race for county commissioner, and a federal judge sent shivers through the spines of county clerks by blocking the 2019 law ending straight-ticket voting in Texas. And as a backdrop to the swirling political and legal chaos around elections and voting, the Secretary of State announced an increase in registered voters (registration continued through October 5). These are all pieces of an important puzzle picturing the resilience of democracy in the state and the nation. With early voting set to start in Texas in less than three weeks (setting aside the lawsuit for the moment), as a wise observer once said, all the pieces matter. I took a little more time this week to put several of them together.

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The Second Reading Podcast: Returning to School (Recorded August, 11 2020)

Trump vote by mail rhetoric further poisons already toxic Texas attitudes toward elections

| By: Jim Henson

President Donald Trump’s assertion via Twitter that “Universal Mail-In Voting” will make 2020 “the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT ELECTION in history” was certainly well-received in corners of the Texas Republican Party that Trump needs to mobilize to remain competitive in November. He has Republican allies in state government that have succeeded in blocking the expansion of voting by mail in the courts, and voters who support such efforts: In the June 2020 Texas Politics Project poll, 72% of Texas Republicans opposed allowing all Texans to vote by mail in response to the pandemic; only 21% of Texas Republicans favored it, with only 7% on the fence. But skepticism of elections runs much deeper, and predates Trump's presidency.

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Data Points from the Week in Texas Politics (July 31, 2020)

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Official economic data released Thursday confirmed what millions of Americans and Texans already knew from experience – that giant sucking sound in everyone’s ears is coming from the contraction of the economy. The same day (what a coincidence!), the president’s Tweet about delaying the November election, and the immediate frenzied responses, had a similar sucking effect. By comparison, Governor Greg Abbott’s addition of another week to the early voting period and an ever-so-slight relaxation of the vote-by-mail rules was a gentle whisper in the ear of the electorate (“I care…”). The Attorney General’s message to local health authorities was decidedly less gentle. Meanwhile, the legislature – remember them? – is getting antsy about how to manage the practical matters of what everybody realizes is going to be a miserable, fiscally strapped session in 2021 no matter how many people they have an excuse to keep out of their offices. And, well, Congressman Louis Gohmert. Read on for public opinion data on all this and more.

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Texas Republicans' Resistance to Mail-In Voting Has Strong Roots in Pre-Pandemic Politics

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The thorough politicization of the laws governing the voting process is deeply rooted in attitudes in the electorate among both Republican and Democratic voters. The result is that an opportunity to find common cause at the crossroads of public health and civic aspiration has instead devolved into endless trips to court amidst a dispiriting replay of the long history of turning the franchise into something more akin to extracting back pay from a stingy boss than exercising a constitutional right.

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A Boxful of Letters: Most Texas Churchgoers Don't Share Attorney General's Complaints About Cities' COVID-19 Containment

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

A trio of letters sent from the Texas Attorney General’s office to the leaders of three of the state’s major metropolitan areas again raised the public tension between the limits on religious practices contained in public health measures undertaken to contain the spread of coronavirus and the protection of religious liberties. That tension, however, may be more acutely felt by elected officials navigating party politics and personal rivalries than it is by most voters.

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Whatever their causes, Super Tuesday primary election problems poison already toxic public attitudes toward the electoral process in Texas

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The long lines and cascading glitches in Texas’ primary contests on Super Tuesday raises yet again the issue of how politics shapes perceptions about the conduct of elections in Texas. While the multiple causes of the Super Tuesday breakdown in some of the state’s largest cities will continue to be dissected in the weeks and months ahead, we know one thing for sure: The public response to failures in the voting process will be viewed through darkly shaded partisan lenses. Polling within the last year reveals how much skepticism about the integrity of voting and elections in Texas pervades the electorate, though with completely different suspicions fueling the concerns of Democrats and Republicans.

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October 2018 UT/Texas Tribune Poll Election Takeaways

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The trial ballot in the contest between Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke, which found the incumbent senator leading the El Paso congressman 51 to 46 percent, provided the marquee result from the October University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Ross Ramsey did his usual, able job rolling out the results from the trial ballots; below, find a few related observations. 

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2018 Election Polling in Texas - October 2018 UT/Texas Tribune Poll Version

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

This post will be updated regularly to reflect the release of new public polls.

Most recent update: 11/2/18

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2018 Election Polling in Texas

| By: Joshua Blank and Jim Henson

This post will be updated regularly to reflect the release of new public polls.

Most recent update: 10/24/18

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