A federal judge has given the state seven until Thursday to create a path for voters to register automatically when they go online to obtain or renew their driver’s licenses.
The Texas Dept. of Public Safety’s website currently redirects voters to the Secretary of State’s website, where a voter can download an application, fill it out and mail it to the proper voter registrar. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled, without a trial, that this process “is not enough” to comply with the National Voter Registration Act, which “demands much more from voter registration agencies.”
A spokesperson for Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton said his office was reviewing the ruling and weighing the state’s options.
In April, Garcia issued a one-page order granting plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment.
Early Voting begins Monday for the May 22 primary runoff elections. State candidates (and some local candidates) in those elections must file 8-day-out campaign finance reports on Monday.
GOV: Lupe Valdez and Andrew White participated in a testy debate in an East Austin church, likely their only such debate before the runoff. They clashed over abortion, immigration, LGBTQ issues and newspaper endorsements. Meanwhile, prior to the debate, the Beaumont Enterprise endorsed White. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram also endorsed White.
CD2 open: The Houston Chronicle reiterated its endorsement of Rep. Kevin Roberts (R-Houston) for the Republican runoff over Dan Crenshaw.
CD7: The Houston Chronicle reiterated its co-endorsement Lizzie Pannill Fletcher in the Democratic runoff over Laura Moser. The paper also endorsed Jason Westin before the primary.
CD27 open: The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reiterated its endorsements of Bech Bruun for the Republican runoff and Eric Holguin in the Democratic runoff. The paper previously endorsed both candidates before the primary.
CD29 open: The Houston Chronicle reiterated its endorsement of Phillip Aronoff for the Republican runoff over Carmen Maria Montiel.
Abilene: The city council ordered a runoff election for June 16 between Jack Rentz (38%) and incumbent P2 council member Bruce Kreitler (35%).
Hidalgo: Mayor Martin Cepeda announced he would contest the results of the May 5 election, which he lost by 261 votes to council member Sergio Coronado. Cepeda claimed that more than 330 people voted illegally. More than 51% of registered voters cast ballots, up from 44% in 2016 and 41% in 2014.
Houston: Visiting Judge Randy Clapp granted summary judgment for the city, upholding the revised term limits ordinance that received voter approval in 2014. He determined the “inartful” phrasing of the ballot language did not make it invalid. Plaintiffs are expected to appeal the ruling.
Irving: The city council ordered a runoff election for June 16 between Shayan Elahi (47%) and Albert Zapanta (46%). The third candidate on the ballot, Shamina Mondal, was ruled to be ineligible, but her name could not be removed from the ballot because the deadline to do so had passed. Just seven votes separated Elahi and Zapanta in the D6 primary.
Mission: Mayor Beto Salinas has been forced into a runoff, missing an outright win by 6 votes (49.96%), according to a count conducted by an outside firm. He will face Doc O’Cana, who received 42% of the vote, in the June 9 runoff election.
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