Tag Archives: voters

Leander voters will decide whether to keep Capital Metro

KXAN Live’s Will DuPree has a live interview with new Leander Mayor Christine Sederquist at 1:30 p.m. that will be broadcast on KXAN.com and on our Facebook page.

LEANDER (KXAN) — Leander’s decision over whether to keep or ditch Capital Metro is now in the hands of voters. The Leander City Council voted 6-1 Thursday night to put the Capital Metro’s future relationship with Leander on an upcoming ballot.

If voters decide to cut ties with CapMetro, that would end the city’s bus and train service immediately.

This vote took place as one of the last acts of outgoing Leander Mayor Troy Hill. Incoming Mayor Christine Sederquist and Council Member Becki Ross were sworn in right after the CapMetro vote.

Voting as a Leander City Council member and not as mayor, Sederquist was the lone person to vote against the ballot item. Mayor Hill and Council Members Kathryn Pantalion-Parker, Annette Sponseller, Jason Shaw, Chris Czernek and Marci Cannon voted in favor.

The City Council still has to order an election before it can place the Capital Metro item on the ballot. That’s expected to happen by Aug. 16 to get this on the November ballot.

Why Leander would ditch Capital Metro

Leander’s Capital Metro station. (KXAN Photo)

In July 2019, Leander seriously considered ending its run as a member city with Capital Metro due to the cost. Currently, Leander pays for CapMetro through a one percent sales tax. In 2018, that translated to about $ 5 million.

But at the time, then-Mayor Hill said this accounted for half of Leander’s annual sales tax revenue. He said he did not think the service the city was receiving was worth the cost. Hill suggested Leander leave as a member city and then contract with CapMetro, similar to what Round Rock does for bus service. He said that financial obligation would not be as large.

If a member city leaves Capital Metro, the Texas Transportation Code requires it to still pay off millions in financial obligations. In 2019, that would have been $ 9.1 million. KXAN will ask Friday what that penalty would be in 2021.

Leander added train stops — but then the pandemic hit

After meeting with CapMetro, Leander ultimately decided not to pull out of its agreement with CapMetro, and CapMetro announced extra services for the city, including more rail stops, and the introduction of its Pickup Service to request rides within six miles of the train station.

CapMetro reacts to Leander City Council’s decision

In a statement, Capital Metro questioned the way the Leander City Council went about this decision, saying it did so with no public notice or public input. It also mentioned the recent return of Saturday rail service and service from Leander to the Domain and Austin FC’s Q2 Stadium.

“Capital Metro is committed to continuing to serve the residents of Leander who rely on and enjoy the benefits of our services. We were not notified of this potential action prior to the Leander City Council meeting, as it was not posted in a manner to give public notice or receive public input from the Leander community on this specific action.

“We recently announced the return of Saturday rail service, and we saw our Leander customers respond positively—especially as many people are making summer plans, venturing out to the Domain, and planning their very first trips to Q2 Stadium.

“We look forward to continue working with the new Mayor and council on our partnership.”
Capital Metro

Author: Wes Wilson
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Liz Cheney's Lonely Stand: What Voters in Wyoming Say

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — On a prairie hill on the rolling highway into Wyoming’s capital city looms a billboard with the beaming face of the state’s lone congressional representative, Liz Cheney. In huge letters it declares: “Thank you Rep. Cheney for defending the Constitution.”

Some local Republicans see Ms. Cheney’s lonesome stand against former President Donald J. Trump’s lies about a stolen election, and her refusal to back down, as an example of true Wyoming grit and independence.

But many others are quick to point out that the billboard was put up by an out-of-state dark money group, a sign of outsiders meddling. And among people in this state that voted in a landslide for Mr. Trump, a number said they were not thankful for much of anything Ms. Cheney has done lately, and have vowed to vote her out of office.

“She broke our trust, I won’t vote for her again,” said James Crestwell as he sat on the front steps of his small Craftsman house in the central part of town on Wednesday. He wore a frayed Army hat marking the time he served on a tank crew in Iraq. An American flag flapped in the spring sunshine.

Wyoming is rich in coal and other fossil fuels, and mining and drilling are major sources of jobs and tax revenue. President Trump championed those industries and loosened mineral leasing regulations. Under President Biden, who temporarily paused oil and mineral leases on federal land and has vowed to move the nation away from fossil fuels, the industry faces a more uncertain future. It is hard for many to stomach criticism of a president who they say stood up for their values.

Mr. Crestwell, 50, who works at the local veterans’ hospital, voted for both Mr. Trump and Ms. Cheney, and said it was a mistake for her to criticize the former president. “Trump’s been good for us in Wyoming. Supported coal and oil,” he said. “She seems like she’s more for Washington than Wyoming — like she’s trying to impress her powerful friends there.”

When asked about the president’s false claims that the election had been rigged, Mr. Crestwell said: “Show me the proof. We don’t have the black and white of what really happened yet.”

On the high plains of Wyoming, a state with fewer than 600,000 residents, conservative politics are as reliable as the stiff western winds. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats four to one and control every part of state government.

But Mr. Trump’s polarizing actions after the election, which have caused a rift in the national Republican Party, are felt even more deeply here. Ms. Cheney’s forceful stand against Mr. Trump has forced local Republicans to choose between the popular hometown girl and the president who won nearly 70 percent of the vote in the state. So far, the most visible party members are roaring for Trump.

The state Republican Party overwhelmingly voted to censure Ms. Cheney in February after she voted to impeach the former president. Six residents have announced they will run against her in 2022. Statements of support from Republican office holders in Wyoming have been notably scant.

Ms. Cheney was once considered something close to political royalty in Wyoming, and a tough candidate to beat. Her family has been in the state for three generations on her mother’s side. Her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who graduated from high school and college here, represented the state in Congress for 10 years.

But in Cheyenne, during the same week that Ms. Cheney was stripped of her leadership position in Congress, local politicians privately predicted that her days in office were numbered. Several leveled one of the more serious insults in these parts — that Ms. Cheney, who owns a house in the ski town of Jackson but has spent much of her life in Washington, was not really from Wyoming.

Other longtime residents said they were proud to see their congresswoman take a stand.

“Trump lied, and she had the guts to call it out. I respect her for sticking to her guns,” said Gene Wolden, who was leaning against a corner of the bar at a saloon in downtown Cheyenne, sipping a Bud Light long neck, in a bushy gray mustache and a snap-button shirt.

Next to him at the bar, Brian Brockman, who had done construction around coal mines in the state for decades, interrupted. “I don’t get it,” he said. “She’s telling the truth, and she gets castigated for it. I mean, if you can’t be honest, what kind of politicians are we going to end up with?”

Johnny Gipson, who works at an oil refinery on the edge of town that is converting to biofuel and shrinking its work force, jumped in. “She messed up. She went against the whole team. Of course everyone’s mad at her.”

“Yeah, but she told the truth!” Mr. Wolden said.

“Hey, I’m in oil,” Mr. Gipson said, putting up his hands. “I’m always going to be for Trump. I’ll just say this, the only people happy with what she did are Democrats.”

The local split over Ms. Cheney is an offshoot of the larger philosophical split in the Republican Party over the legacy of Mr. Trump, and whether political success lies with breaking with him or boosting him, said Prof. James King, who teaches political science at the University of Wyoming.

“This is the struggle we are seeing all over the country between Republicans who are more supportive of the party’s traditional values,” he said, “and Republicans who are more supportive of Trump.”

He noted that before Mr. Trump’s second impeachment, Ms. Cheney voted with the president on nearly every issue and was one of the most conservative members of Congress. That may insulate her from political damage.

“I think this will all shake out, because she has supported mining and agriculture, and the values of her voting are still very much the values of the state,” he said.

Ms. Cheney’s current political troubles in Washington may not translate to an election loss next year, Professor King said, because in Wyoming, where the Republican primary almost always decides the election, residents of any political affiliation can register as Republicans on Primary Day, which means Ms. Cheney could draw significant numbers of independents and Democrats.

The large number of challengers may also work in her favor, he said, because Wyoming has no runoff elections, so the challengers could split the vote, and Ms. Cheney could win with even a slim plurality.

“She might just survive,” he said. “Right now, everyone is keeping their heads down because they don’t want to end up in the same position. But I think she has more support out there than people think.”

Author: Dave Philipps
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Analysis: Texas voters signal a turn to normal, in more ways than one

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Author: Ross Ramsey
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Florida governor signs Republican-drafted voting bill; Advocates say it harms minority, disabled voters

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping elections bill into law Thursday that he and other Republicans said would place guardrails against fraud, even as they acknowledged there were no serious signs of voting irregularities last November. Democrats and voter rights advocates said the partisan move will make it harder for some voters to cast ballots.The Republican governor signed the freshly passed legislation ahead of his impending announcement that he’ll run for reelection in the nation’s largest battleground state. He staged the signing on a live broadcast of Fox & Friends Thursday morning, flanked by a small group of GOP legislators in Palm Beach County. Other media organizations were shut out of the event.

DeSantis said the new law puts Florida ahead of the curve in preventing any potential fraud.Groups including the NAACP and Common Cause said they would immediately file a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the new law makes it more difficult for people who are Black, Latino or disabled to vote.

“For far too long, Florida’s lawmakers and elected officials have created a vast array of hurdles that have made it more difficult for these and other voters to make their voices heard,” the groups said in their lawsuit, which they planned to file in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, the state capital.

While Georgia has become the current epicenter of the national battle over elections laws, other states – led by Republicans still unsettled by then-President Donald Trump’s loss in November – have moved to rewrite elections laws. The national campaign to do so is motivated by Trump’s unfounded allegations that irregularities in the election process, particularly in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, led to his loss – a baseless claim that inspired the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The Georgia law requires a photo ID in order to vote absentee by mail, after more than 1.3 million Georgia voters used that option during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also cuts the time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed.

Some of the changes in Florida’s election rules contain similar provisions. Democrats acknowledge that the Florida law won’t be as draconian as the one recently adopted by its neighbor to the north.The GOP-controlled Florida Legislature passed the law without a single Democratic vote, even as Florida Republicans have hailed their state as a model for conducting elections. This disconnect has confounded Democrats, voter rights groups and statewide elections officials who see no need for the changes.

But Republicans countered that the new law is a preemptive move against those who would undermine the sanctity of the ballot box, even if they could not cite specific instances of widespread fraud. Republicans argue that the new rules do nothing to keep people from voting.

The newly signed law restricts when ballot drop boxes can be used and who can collect ballots – and how many. To protect against so called “ballot harvesting,” an electoral Good Samaritan can only collect and return the ballots of immediate family and no more than two from unrelated people. Under the new rules, drop boxes must be supervised and would only be available when elections offices and early voting sites are open.

It requires that a voter making changes to registration data provide an identifying number, possibly a driver’s license number or a partial Social Security Number.

The governor’s signature extends a no-influence zone to 150 feet (50 meters) around polling places. And elections officials would have to let candidates and other observers witness some key election night moments in the ballot-handling process. Any violations could prompt hefty fines.

DeSantis had pushed Republican lawmakers to deliver the sweeping rewrites of rules on voting by mail and drop boxes, and to impose new layers of ID requirements for routine changes to a voter’s registration record.However, the proposals signed into law did not include some of the more severe provisions initially put forward by some Republicans, including the outright banning of drop boxes and preventing the use of the U.S. Postal Service for returning completed ballots.

Spurred by concerns that the pandemic would keep voters from voting on Election Day last year, the Democratic Party urged people to vote early and through the mail.

The result: Florida Democrats outvoted Republicans by mail for the first time in years as a record 4.9 million Floridians voted by mail. Democrats cast 680,000 more mail ballots than Republicans did.

In the past, an application for a vote-by-mail ballot covered two general election cycles. The new law requires voters who want an absentee ballot to apply for one every cycle. Republicans had initially proposed making this retroactive, which would have immediately erased the Democratic advantage, but they backed off that move in the final version.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Author: AP

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Austin voters reinstate city’s ban on public homeless encampments in one of several local Texas elections

Author: Texas Tribune Staff
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Texas voters sharply divided on the fairness of elections

Author: Ross Ramsey
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

February’s storm and outages united voters wanting state action, UT/TT Poll finds

Author: Ross Ramsey
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Analysis: Redistricting is boring and thats why its hazardous to voters

Redistricting is boring

Author: Ross Ramsey
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Lubbock voters decide West Texas city become sanctuary city

A sign opposing a proposed city ordinance that would ban abortions inside Lubbock city limits outside of an early voting loc…

A banner supporting a proposed city ordinance that would ban abortions inside Lubbock city limits hangs from Trinity Church …

Groundswell of activism

Kiran Thompson holds a sign supporting Proposition A across from the Lubbock Planned Parenthood location on April 27, 2021, …

The movement spreads

Author: Shannon Najmabadi
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

As Austin voters weigh camping ban proposition

Austin voters to decide on camping ban

“It ties their hands”

Author: Juan Pablo Garnham
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed