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Million Voters Registered In Texas After 2016 Raising Democrats’ Hopes Of Flipping Texas In 2020
October 13, 2020 / 9:22 AM / CBS News
Texas has seen one of the highest upticks in newly registered voters in the nation,with over 3 million people who registered after the 2016 election.
That means about 1 in every 5 voters in Texas in 2020 were not registered in 2016 and Democrats are betting the surge could help flip Texas this year.
As of Monday, Texas’ secretary of state lists more than 16.9 million registered voters in its database, a state record and a net gain of 1.8 million since 2016.
President Trump won the state by 807,179 votes in 2016. Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke lost his statewide race by 214,921 votes.
While registration gains ebbedin March and April, at the beginning of the pandemic, more than 585,000 new voters have registered since September 1.
The Census Bureau says Texas’ population has grown by 3.85 million since 2010, 2 million of whom are Hispanic.
Early voting in Texas kicks off Tuesday. More than 1.8 million Texans voted early in the March primaries, about 45% of the total turnout. Including mail votes, over half of Texans voted early or by mail during the primary.
Texans aren’t required to designate a party when they register, but Democratic operatives anticipate at least 60% of these new voters are Democrats because so many of them are young and from communities of color.
Adam Brewster and Kabir Khanna contributed reporting.
Many Of Those Unregistered People Are Young Or Belong To Communities Of Color The Party Says
5:38 PM on Jun 8, 2021 CDT
WASHINGTON — Texas Democrats hope to turn the state blue in 2022 with a voter registration drive aimed at 2 million people who they believe skew Democratic.
Project Texas, a $1.7 million initiative, would be the largest voter registration program attempted by Texas Democrats, Democratic strategist Luke Warford said in a news conference announcing the initiative Tuesday. The “vast majority” of those unregistered but probably liberal people are young or belong to communities of color, Warford said.
Citing last week’s walkout by Democratic state legislators over voting rights restrictions, as well as ongoing national debates about federal voting rights legislation, Texas elected officials at the news conference said there is newfound urgency to flip the state. U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar said she was “so serious” about the initiative that she had hired a full-time staffer based in her district in El Paso to oversee the program’s rollout there.
“For every effort that Republicans attempt to suppress the vote, and to make sure that especially minority communities like ours don’t have a voice, we will redouble our efforts to make sure that we provide avenues to the ballot box for millions of Texans,” Escobar said during the news conference. “For me, it starts in my community of El Paso.”
“This is a power grab,” Alvarado said about that measure, Senate Bill 7. “Hopefully, it is the last one we see. People have called this Jim Crow 2.0. It is.”
States With Republican Governors Had Highest Covid Incidence And Death Rates Study Finds
States with Democratic governors had the highest incidence and death rates from Covid-19 in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, but states with Republican governors surpassed those rates as the crisis dragged on, a study released Tuesday found.
“From March to early June, Republican-led states had lower Covid-19 incidence rates compared with Democratic-led states. On June 3, the association reversed, and Republican-led states had higher incidence,” the study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Medical University of South Carolina showed.
“For death rates, Republican-led states had lower rates early in the pandemic, but higher rates from July 4 through mid-December,” the study found.
Here Are The Texas Gop’s Reasons For Voting Restrictions And Why Critics Disagree
“This is a preventative measure for us,” state Rep. Travis Clardy says of the Republican-backed Senate Bill 7, which sought to tighten voting rules, citing a need to prevent fraud. Here, opponents of the bill hold a rally last month at the Texas Capitol in Austin.
Texas Republicans say their controversial move to tighten voter restrictions is sorely needed to prevent fraud. But the few examples of fraud they cite have been out of proportion to the sweeping changes included in their legislation, which seeks to reshape the way many Texans exercise their fundamental democratic right.
Senate Bill 7 is now effectively dead after Democrats walked out of the Texas Capitol in a quorum-busting maneuver that prevented a final vote on the bill. But Republicans plan to call a special session of the state Legislature to revive their push for new controls.
“Election integrity legislation will pass during the special session. Period,” House Speaker Dade Phelan said late Monday.
The Republican election proposals we’ve seen so far are expansive. The failed bill sought to impose new limits on the vote-by-mail system and to restrict how and when people can vote in person. It also would have increased existing criminal penalties and created new criminal offenses around voting.
Texas Democrats Walk Out To Block Voting Restrictions; Governor Threatens No Pay
State Sen. Bryan Hughes, a Republican who is listed as one of SB 7’s primary authors, said Monday that it included “common-sense reforms to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
But Hughes and other Texas Republicans have produced little evidenceto support the idea that their state’s political process is endangered by fraud. And critics say Republicans in Texas and other states, such as Georgia and Florida, are trying to put their thumbs on the scales after their party came up short in key races in 2020.
It’s not yet known when the Texas Legislature might return for a special session. Here’s a look at what the voting legislation’s supporters are saying and how their critics respond:
What supporters say: It’s meant to standardize how Texans vote
Republican state Rep. Briscoe Cain, another prominent backer of SB 7, called the bill a “voter enhancement” measure whose main goals include standardizing how Texans vote. It’s one of several ways in which the GOP has sought to defuse accusations that the bill unfairly affects people of color and voters with disabilities.
What critics say: It adds more restrictions
If Texas lawmakers want to help voters, the Texas Civil Rights Project says, they should turn their attention elsewhere. The group says that “we have no online voter registration, only a fraction of Texans have the right to vote by mail, and 750 polling places were closed between 2013 and 2019, predominantly in communities of color.”
As NPR member station KUT reported:
Texas Democrats Want To Register 2 Million Voters Before 2022 Midterm Elections
AUSTIN — With the legislative session in the rear view mirror, and the possibility of the Governor calling lawmakers back to the Capitol this summer, the Texas’ major political parties are already planning for the 2022 midterm elections.
The Texas Democratic Party announced the creation of a voter registration plan aimed at registering two million Texans before the midterms.
The program, dubbed “Project Texas,” targets prospective voters who are young and largely Hispanic, party leaders announced in a Tuesday press conference.
“There are over 2 million people in the state of Texas that are not registered to vote that fit the Democratic profile,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said during the virtual event. “Most of those are Latinos, a large portion of them are young people— people who, if registered to vote, are going to vote for Democrats. So that’s our task. That’s what this voter registration plan is all about.”
The first phase of the plan involves testing six different methods of voter registration through the rest of the year, party leaders said. The methods include digital ads, apartment voter registration, registering voters by mail, site-based registration, door-to-door registration, and relational organizing.
“We need to do everything we can to counter these attacks, get people to the polls, help Texans make their voices heard, and make their voices be heard loud and clear,” State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, said.
Why Texas Democrats Lost The 2020 Voter Turnout Battle Even Among Latinos
SAN ANTONIO — Texas Democrats conceded that Republicans won the state’s turnout battle in the 2020 election by staying in the field despite the coronavirus pandemic, while the state’s Democrats relied on digital and more unreliable telephone contact with voters.
According to a post-election report provided in advance to NBC News, the party lost its “most powerful and competitive advantage” when it didn’t dispatch volunteers to canvass in person, following the directive of Joe Biden’s campaign after the pandemic hit.
“Our inability to campaign was really devastating for us, especially with our main base. Our main base is Latino voters, and they do not take well to mail and texting contact,” Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said.
The report, released Monday, found that even though Democrats turned out at higher rates than expected, so did Republican voters, who outperformed the higher Democratic turnout.
The party struggled to reach voters “for whom we did not have phone numbers, who are disproportionately young rural,” as well as people of color.
Despite early hopes that they could turn the state blue, Democrats didn’t win any new congressional seats or flip the state House, and former President Donald Trump got higher vote shares than expected in heavily Hispanic counties.
Texas Early Voting Tops 2016 Total With More Than 9 Million Ballots Cast
- Texas has surpassed its total 2016 voter turnout with four days until Election Day, according to data released by state election officials Friday morning.
- Polling suggests Texas could be a battleground in 2020, as shifting demographics have given Democrats hope in the presidential race between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
- Texas does not report party affiliation of early voters, making it difficult to predict how parties’ voter shares are shaping up so far.
Texas has surpassed its total 2016 voter turnout with four days before Election Day, according to data released by state election officials Friday morning.
Voters have cast more than 9 million ballots in person and by mail so far, setting a new record in the state. In the 2016 presidential election, 8,969,226 Texans voted, according to the state’s official tally.
The milestone reflects high turnout across the country for the presidential race between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, as the coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented demand for early voting.
Since the last presidential election, Texas has gained about 1.9 million registered voters, The Texas Tribune reported. About 53% of registered Texas voters have cast their ballot in 2020 so far.
The state’s 38 electoral votes are considered a must-win for Trump. In 2016, Trump won Texas over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by 9 points.
Arizona Republicans Enact Sweeping Changes To State’s Early Voting List
Earlier versions of SB 7 would also have required disabled voters to produce proof of their status, such as documents from the Social Security Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs. But that provision was later cut. The original requirements would have been unfeasible for many disabled people and would have exposed counties and the state to expensive lawsuits, according to Lauren Gerken, public policy analyst at the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities, a state agency.
What supporters say: It’s meant to cut down on fraud
SB 7 was introduced on March 11, titled the Election Integrity Protection Act of 2021. Its stated purpose is “to detect and punish fraud.” But the legislation’s backers have not been able to point to many specific examples of problems they want to fix.
In April, Hughes was asked to list the places where election fraud had occurred in Texas. Rather than echo former President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud in the 2020 vote, he pointed to the previous midterm election.
“In my district over in East Texas, I have a county commissioner under felony indictment … over mail ballot fraud from the 2018 election cycle,” Hughes told Amarillo TV station ABC 7.
“That case in Gregg County involved 38 ballots” that were questioned, the station’s Morgan Duerden noted.
What critics say: There is no widespread fraud
What supporters say:It’s meant to inspire confidence in the voting process
Chart 1 And Table 2: Nationwide Party Registration Trends Since 2000
|Since 2000, the nationwide proportion of registered Democratic and Republican voters in party registration states have both gone down, while the percentage of registered independents has steadily grown. The latter has nearly reached the nationwide percentage of registered Republicans, which has long been second nationally to the Democrats. Altogether, the combined number of registered Democrats and Republicans, which was 77% in October 2000, is now down to 69%, while the proportion of registered independents over the same period has increased from 22% to 28%.|
Note: Based on active registered voters in states where the number of active and inactive registrants is listed. In the election-eve 2000, 2008, and 2016 entries, “Independents” include a comparatively small number of registered miscellaneous voters who do not fit into a particular category. Percentages do not add to 100 since the small percentage of registered third party voters is not included.
Map 2 And Table 4: Party Registration And The 2016 Presidential Vote
|Of the 31 party registration states, 24 were carried in the 2016 presidential election by the party with the most registered voters in it. Donald Trump swept 11 of the 12 states with a Republican registration advantage, while Hillary Clinton won 13 of the 19 states which had more registered Democrats than Republicans. Four of the Democratic registration states that Trump took were in the South, led by Florida and North Carolina. He also overcame Democratic registration advantages in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to win both. The only state with more registered Republicans than Democrats that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 was New Hampshire, where the outcome was very close.|
Notes: An asterisk indicates states where there were more registered independents than either Democrats or Republicans in October 2016. “Independents” include a comparatively small number of registered miscellaneous voters who do not fit into any particular category.
Texas Democrats Begin Voter Registration Push As Gop Eyes Limits
With Republicans moving to pass new voting restrictions in the state, Democrats are starting a major statewide registration program focused on racially diverse communities.
The Texas Democratic Party and a coalition of allied progressive groups announced a major voter registration program on Tuesday, pledging to focus on registration in racially diverse communities at a time when the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature is vowing to pass a host of new voting restrictions, many of which would disproportionately affect communities of color.
The plan, which aims to register at least one million Democrats out of the state’s three million unregistered eligible voters, will be a combination of old-school field operations, mail outreach, digital ads and door-to-door canvassing.
It comes after Texas Democrats successfully blocked the state’s expansive voting bill, known as S.B. 7, in a dramatic late-night walkout. But Republicans in the state, led by Gov. Greg Abbott, have pledged to return in a special session and pass a similar voting bill.
The huge voter registration effort comes as Democrats across the country are struggling to stymie the Republican-led push to enact new voting restrictions through state legislatures that the G.O.P. controls. As of May 14, lawmakers had passed 22 new laws in 14 states to make the process of voting more difficult, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a research institute.
Map 1 And Table 1: Party Registration Totals By State July 2018
|Democrats no longer control the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or for that matter most of the governorships or state legislatures. But they still maintain a toehold in the political process with their edge in the realm of voter registration. At least that is the case in the 31 states and the District of Columbia that register voters by political party. As of this month, 13 of these states boast a Democratic plurality in registered voters, compared to eight states where there is a Republican plurality. In the other 10 states, there are more registered independents than either Democrats or Republicans, with Democrats out-registering the Republicans in six of these states and the GOP with more voters than the Democrats in the other four. They are indicated in the chart as “I” or “I.” Nationally, four out of every 10 registered voters in party registration states are Democrats, with slightly less than three out of every 10 registered as Republicans or independents. Overall, the current Democratic advantage over Republicans in the party registration states approaches 12 million.|
The First Week Of Early Voting Shows Democrats Flooding Dallas
5:00 AM on Oct 19, 2020 CDT
The first week of early voting confirms what many political analysts already knew. Texas is a state that leans Republican, but the political climate gives Democrats a serious chance at flipping the Texas House and winning a statewide race.
Inside the Lone Star State’s legislative districts, Democrats are poised to roll up impressive victories in the suburbs, especially outside of Dallas. In those areas they are boosted by the unpopularity of President Donald Trump, a surge of base Democratic voters, and new Texas voters with a history of voting for Democrats in other states.
While what I’m writing will ruffle Trump loyalists and others ignoring the trends, it’s not shocking to Democratic Party or GOP operatives on the ground. Just like 2018, when they made gains in the Texas Legislature and Congress, the political climate is conducive for a change election.
The biggest question: How prepared are Democrats to take advantage of a unique political opportunity?
“It’s perfect weather for them,” Republican consultant Bill Miller said of Democrats, adding that it would be a crushing letdown if they didn’t win a statewide election or seize the Texas House. “This should be their best round of golf.”
Abhi Rahman, a spokesperson for the Texas Democratic Party, said they are encouraged by the first week of early voting.
“Texas Democrats could not be more thrilled with where we are at,” he said. “Texas Democrats are poised to win up and down the ballot.”
Texas Voter Registration Surges To 164m Despite Pandemic
AUSTIN — Not even the worst pandemic to hit Texas in a century was enough to stem the surge in voter registrations that has remade the state’s electorate over the past four years.
Just since March, Texas has added nearly 149,000 voters even as the political parties and voter registration groups face new obstacles in signing up people in a world of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.
The state now has a record 16.4 million voters, 2.1 million more than it had just over four years ago — a 15 percent increase in registrations that is nearly equivalent to the voter rolls of the entire state of Connecticut.
“It is a totally different electorate than it was in 2016,” said Luke Warford, voter expansion director for the Texas Democratic Party.
Harris County and Bexar County have led the way in the past three months with voter registration efforts. In Harris County, voter rolls have grown by 16,000, while in Bexar they are up almost 14,000.
Combined, the two counties account for one-fifth of the increase in registrations statewide.
To vote in the November presidential election, new voters must register to vote by Oct. 5. Voters who are not sure if they are registered can check online at votetexas.gov.
Oct. 5 also is the deadline to change the address on a voter registration. Address changes made within the same county are effective 30 days afterward. Voters who move to a new county must submit a new voter registration application.
So Will Democrats Actually Be Able To Block These Bills
Texas Democrats are relying on a provision of the state constitution which says that “two-thirds of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business” in order to prevent the GOP’s election bill from passing.
Yet, while Texas’s constitution does require a two-thirds quorum to legislate, it also permits the remaining legislators to “compel the attendance of absent members.” Thus, the Democrats’ gambit depends on at least 51 members of the state’s 150-member House evading law enforcement, which may force absent lawmakers to return to the House floor.
That likely explains, at least in part, why the absent Democrats left the state — Texas law enforcement agencies typically do not have jurisdiction in Washington, DC — although many of the fleeing Democrats also say that they chose to spend their exile in the nation’s capital in order to pressure congressional Democrats into enacting voting rights legislation.
It’s hard to know how this will end. There are two reasons to think that Democrats may be more successful in blocking this election bill than they were when they tried to block the Republican Party’s gerrymander in 2003.
The other factor cutting in Democrats’ favor is that the fleeing lawmakers may still be able to work even though they are not in Texas.
In Texas Gop Voting Bills Zero In On Democratic Houston
The nation’s next big voting battle is underway in Texas
The new voting restrictions many states are considering
AUSTIN, Texas — The nation’s next big voting battle underway in Texas would outlaw 24-hour polling places, drive-thru voting and make it a crime for elections officials to mail unsolicited absentee ballot applications.
Put another way: Everything Houston — the state’s biggest Democratic stronghold — did to expand ballot access last year, when the threat of the coronavirus made voting in-person more hazardous.
Amid a GOP-led campaign to tighten voting laws, Republican lawmakers in in Texas have been unusually explicit in zeroing in on Houston and surrounding Harris County as they push to tighten the state’s voting laws. One of the country’s largest and most racially diverse counties, Harris rolled out new ways to vote in 2020 on a scale like nowhere else in Texas. Although there is no evidence of fraud resulting from votes cast from cars or in the dead of night, Republicans are determined to prevent it from happening again.
The effort is one of the clearest examples of how the GOP’s nationwide campaign to tighten voting laws can target Democrats, even as they insist the measures are not partisan. With Americans increasingly sorted into liberal urban areas and conservative rural ones, geography can be an effective proxy for partisanship. Proposals tailored to cities or that take population into account are bound to have a greater impact on Democratic voters.
Record Number Of Texas Voters Registered For November
Texas has added more than 1.5 million new voters to the rolls since the last presidential election. More than 800,000 of those new voters registered since the November 2018 election. With the new additions, there are now more than 16.6 million Texans registered to vote in the November election. That’s a new state record.
There’s no way to know right now whether the new voters are Republicans or Democrats and whether they will turn out in November. However, in the July primary runoff election, Democrats outpaced Republicans by about 30%, setting a new Democratic record for a runoff election. Democrats also outnumbered Republicans in the March primary.
If you are not yet registered, there are two weeks left to get it done.
“An active and engaged citizenry plays an essential role in ensuring the continued well-being of our democracy,” said Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs in announcing the new state record. “Ahead of the November election, I encourage all eligible Texans who have not already done so to register to vote by October 5th so that they can help shape the future of the Lone Star State.”
You can check your registration status on the Texas secretary of state’s “Am I Registered?” webpage.
If you have moved to a new address within the same county or have changed your name, you can update your information online.
Florida Vs California: How Two States Tackled Covid
The researchers theorized that one reason for the change is that Democrats were in charge of states where people who had the virus first arrived in the country — but Republicans were less stringent about safeguards, which could have contributed to their states’ ultimately higher incidence and death rates.
“The early trends could be explained by high Covid-19 cases and deaths among Democratic-led states that are home to initial ports of entry for the virus in early 2020,” the researchers wrote. “However, the subsequent reversal in trends, particularly with respect to testing, may reflect policy differences that could have facilitated the spread of the virus.”
The study, which which was published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examined Covid-19 “incidence, death, testing, and test positivity rates from March 15 through December 15, 2020,” when there were 16 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and 300,000 deaths. It focused on per-capita infection and death rates in the 26 GOP-led states and 24 Democratic-led states and Washington, D.C., and made statistical adjustments for issues such as population density.
But “policy differences” between the Republican and Democratic leaders emerged as a big factor for the reversal of the states’ fortunes, the study suggests.
“One of the most concerning things last year is the politicization of public health restrictions,” Lee said. “They’re not opinions, they’re based on evidence.”
Pandemic Doesnt Slow Digital Hunt For Young Voters
In Texas, voters don’t register by party affiliation like many other states, making it unclear exactly how many Republican or Democratic voters are in the state.
But about one-third of the 1.3 million new voters since November 2018 come from three counties: Harris, Travis and Bexar — all deeply bluesince 2016.
Harris and Bexar being at the top of the list doesn’t surprise Antonio Arellano, who is the leader of Jolt, a voter advocacy group focused on registering young Latino voters and getting them involved in politics. He said his group has been on the ground in those two counties.
While the coronavirus made registration drives impossible in traditional locations such as libraries, county fairs and large events, younger voters can still be found with direct messages on social media, text messages and digital ads. The virus hasn’t affected those efforts at all.
“We harness culture, art and technology to get it done,” Arellano said.
Residents leave the polling location at Lee G. Alworth Building after voting on the final day of early voting, Thursday, July 9, 2020, in Conroe.
Each year in Texas, 200,000 Latinos turn 18 — a population that is Jolt’s main focus.
In recent months, political unrest around the nation, particularly in minority communities since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, has also helped Democratic registration pushes.
“We are clearly in a moment that is charged emotionally and politically,” Warford said.
Voter Registration And State Political Control
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The state Democratic or Republican Party controls the governorship, the state legislative houses, and U.S. Senate representation. Nebraska’s legislature is unicameral, i.e., it has only one legislative house and is officially non-partisan, though party affiliation still has an unofficial influence on the legislative process.
The simplest measure of party strength in a state voting population is the affiliation totals from voter registration for the 30 states and the District of Columbia as of 2019 that allow registered voters to indicate a party preference when registering to vote. 20 states do not include party preference with voter registration: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The party affiliations in the party control table are obtained from state party registration figures where indicated. Only Wyoming has a majority of registered voters identifying themselves as Republicans; two states have a majority of registered voters identifying themselves as Democrats: Maryland and Kentucky .
Increasing Republican Strength: 1960 To 1990
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Beginning in the late 1960s, Republican strength increased in Texas, particularly among residents of the expanding “country club suburbs” around Dallas and Houston.The election, to Congress, of Republicans such as John Tower and George H. W. Bush in 1961 and 1966, respectively, reflected this trend. Nationally, outside of the South, Democrats supported the civil rights movement and achieved important passage of federal legislation in the mid-1960s. In the South, however, Democratic leaders had opposed changes to bring about black voting or desegregated schools and public facilities and in many places exercised resistance. Following passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, southern white voters began to align with the Republican Party, a movement accelerated after the next year, when Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, providing for federal enforcement of minorities’ constitutional right to vote. Voter registration and turnout increased among blacks and Latinos in Texas and other states.