Yep, I voted yesterday. I did not "early vote" or "earlyvote" yesterday; I voted early. A confession from a recovering grammar snob: I'm uncomfortable with the evolution of early vote as an intransitive verb, preferring the more standard vote early. Also, since elections are now de facto a two-week event in most localities, I would dispense with the qualifier altogether: I voted.
The main reason for keeping the adverb is that, in most if not all Texas counties, voting takes place in local precincts on Election Day itself, but in the county-designated locations in the two weeks prior thereto. I exercised my franchise at the Alice McKean Young Neighborhood Library in the Greater Southpark area. The previous location in that area was in the Harris County offices at the old Palm Center shopping strip. The library has a more spacious community room than the Palm Center location, but a much smaller parking lot (maybe 50 spaces versus hundreds) and a much farther walk from the Purple Line ternimus. I parked at the King Best Mall (not an actual mall as we generally define it) down Griggs Road, crossed the road, and walked a long block to the library. Turnout was healthy, but Sunday's early voting has become a community ritual in that part of H-Town.
Ahead of the midterms, NPR notices that our indicted felon/state attorney general Ken Paxton gets busy ramping up efforts to "combat voter fraud" (sic).
Voting experts say actual instances of fraudulent ballots knowingly cast are extremely rare, leading to accusations that the effort is intended to intimidate voters.
"I think it's all politically motivated," said Greg Westfall, a Texas lawyer currently representing a Hispanic woman who was charged this month with voter fraud. "If you look at the timing, that's what's breathtaking."
"The fact that there is this concerted effort in Texas to prosecute these cases to the full extent – particularly against people of color – is supremely troublesome," (Beth Stevens of the Texas Civil Rights Project) said. "And then we know what happens in Texas goes to the rest of the country as a model."
Zenén Jaimes Pérez, the communications director for the TxCRP, said the attorney general's own numbers show that his office was tackling an issue that wasn't a growing problem, as shown by the small number of cases in the many years before the crackdown.
"They have prosecuted an average of around 30 election violations since 2004," Pérez said in an email. "To be sure, the AG started the Election Integrity Initiative in without evidence of increasing elections violations," Pérez said.
Even as another 'Beto as Superman' mural was unveiled in Houston, the first, in East Austin and mentioned in this "scattershot" post from Brains and Eggs, was defaced by vandals shortly after it debuted.
Rogers’s mural has been defaced phrases like "El Paso gentrifier supports Israel" and "No hero” spray-painted onto the artwork in red and white.
Progrexas carries the piece from the TexTrib about how the statewide judicial candidates will win or lose solely on the basis of their party affiliation.
If anyone is poised to spoil (yet another GOP) sweep, it’s R.K. Sandill, a long-serving Democratic district judge in Harris County who’s consistently outraised his opponent, Justice John Devine. In addition to an impressive cash-on-hand tally, an endorsement from the Houston Chronicle and victories in the Houston Bar Association and Texas Bar Association polls, Sandill faces perhaps the most controversial incumbent on the high court. Before being elected to the high court in 2012, Devine was sued for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom. Devine has also boasted publicly that he was arrested 37 times protesting outside abortion clinics.
Rewire writes about how a federal court in Texas--Judge Reed O'Connor's in the Northern District--will shape the legal fight under way over transgender rights.
Brandon Formby at the Texas Tribune describes the collision of rural and urban values as the high speed rail line between Houston and Dallas continues to move ahead.
Think Progress has details on far-right activists and militia groups headed to the southern border to stop the caravan of Honduran migrants (that are still a thousand miles away).
Earlier (last) week, the U.S. Border Patrol warned landowners in Texas that they could expect “possible armed civilians” on their property because of the news about the caravan. The exact details of when and where the militia would deploy are unclear, but one militia leader told the Associated Press that they would have upwards of 100 members guarding the Mexico-Texas border.
Stace at Dos Centavos reflected on his weekend of politics y cultura.
The TSTA Blog resorts to begging teachers to support public education at the ballot box.
Texas Standard updates the story of the city of Houston's legal tussle with Southwest Key, the operators of a proposed child detention facility on the northeast side, in reporting that the the city has rejected a settlement offer from the company.
A political sign opposing Prop 2—the Houston firefighters' pay parity proposal--was tastelessly posted at the vacant site where five died and thirteen were injured fighting a terrible motel fire just a few years ago. Fox26's Greg Groogan captured the reactions of HFD union head Marty Lancton and Mayor Sylvester Turner.
"I don't know how you walk up here and see five flags flying, the thin red line and the 13 that were injured and not understand that this is not the place to show your disdain and your vindictiveness toward Houston Firefighters," said Lancton.
At City Hall, Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is bankrolling the PAC and leading the fight against pay parity, stopped short of an apology.
"I don't know who put it there. I'm just saying whoever put it there, it's important to be respectful and not just of places, but family members as well," said Turner.
Dallas City Hall has stonewalled a pair of open records requests by Downwinders at Risk regarding a mysterious clean air fund and a Joppa polluter.
Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer thinks it's great that a rec center was renamed for Santos Rodriguez, the boy who was killed by a Dallas policeman in 1973 (updated by the Militant in this Wrangle from August).
Sanford Nowlin at the San Antonio Current reminds us that some Christians do support progressiveliberal ideas and politics.
CultureMap Houston describes how the Old Spanish Trail—aka, old US Highway 90 connecting El Paso, San Antonio, and Houston and built over hundred years ago—missed its intended history...but created a new one that's now old enough for us to celebrate all its own, particularly in the Alamo City. (dbc note: I live right by a stretch of OST where muscle cars and three-wheelers like Polaris Slingshots roam and provide an interesting soundtrack.)
Grits came to Houston and took in a Contemporary Arts Museum collaboration by artists about the justice system (highly recommended).
Both CNBC and The Verge covered the news about the Sam's Club in Dallas which will be a cashier-less operation, similar to the five (so far) Amazon Go stores in Seattle and Chicago.
And Harry Hamid went out for a bottle of wine at midnight, took in the 'Trose scene, and got ready to tell another story.