Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Travis County’

As long as we’re talking about improving our voting machines

Then this is what we should be talking about. [Travis] County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir called Rice University computer science professor Dan Wallach, who has been poking holes in voting-machine security for years. He’s testified before Congress on the subject. Now DeBeauvoir wanted him to design a new one. “Wow,” he says. “That doesn’t happen very […]

Statewide review: 2016 was like 2008, but not in a good way

There’s no point in beating around the bush, so I’ll just come out and say it: Despite the excitement about increases in voter registration and heavy early voting turnout. statewide Democratic candidates outside of Hillary Clinton generally did not do any better than their counterparts in 2008. Republican statewide candidates, on the other hand, were […]

Wait, who supports paper ballots now?

I have three things to say about this. Following repeated allegations by Republican Donald Trump that the election may be rigged to ensure a win for Democrat Hillary Clinton, Texas lawmakers are actively considering ways to boost confidence in the state’s elections during next year’s legislative session. Among the ideas drawing interest: adding paper trail […]

Early voting, Day Eight: We do have a pretty good idea of who has been voting so far

Why such a mushy article about the state of early voting so far? Because Texas voters can use a single click to back an entire slate, the down-ballot candidates running countywide have ever-slimming chances of influencing their destinies. As polarization and straight-ticket voting grow, the outlook is even more challenging for judicial candidates, who do […]

Help a crony out?

Collin County, y’all. Collin County lawmakers debated intervening in Ken Paxton’s legal woes by pressuring county leaders to cut funding for the case, according to a series of private text messages exchanged last week. Taxpayers in Paxton’s home county are on the hook to pay for his prosecution, which has dragged on for months as […]

Record registration numbers for Harris County

Nice. As registration closed, Harris County’s voter roster had grown by more than 6 percent since 2014, the steepest increase in 16 years. More than 323,890 new names have been added, bringing the county voter roll to more than 2.2 million. Harris County is not alone. The Texas Secretary of State’s office two weeks ago […]

Miller avoids charges for his questionable trips

Can’t catch ’em all. Travis County prosecutors will not press criminal charges against Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller for tapping taxpayer funds for two trips that involved personal activities — including an appearance in a Mississippi rodeo and the receipt of a medical injection in Oklahoma called the “Jesus Shot.” “We have decided to close […]

Two more Clinton campaign offices opened in Texas

In Austin: The Democratic National Committee opened its Austin headquarters on Sunday. The move comes amid a surprisingly narrowing gap (given the longtime deep-red status of the state) between Clinton and her GOP rival, Donald Trump, for the presidency. The office is located at 61 N. Interstate 35 at Holly Street, serving as the base […]

Reducing pot prosecutions one county at a time

Some Texas cities are taking direct action to dial back the drug wars and reduce their jail population. As lawmakers have wrestled in recent years with easing restrictions on marijuana use – an issue they likely will confront again when they convene in January – prosecutors in the state’s most populated areas are relaxing their […]

We won’t have Robert Morrow to kick around any longer

Valar morghulis, y’all. The brief, zany tenure of Travis County GOP Chairman Robert Morrow came to an end Friday, as party officials made clear the conspiracy theorist abandoned his post by running for president and he accepted their conclusion without question. Inside a nondescript office park in Austin, party officials convened reporters to lay out […]

Rangers hand off Miller case to Travis County DA

Here we go. The Travis County District Attorney’s Office has begun reviewing the findings of a criminal investigation into Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s travel, a top prosecutor said Friday. “We received the investigation (from the Texas Department of Public Safety) earlier this week,” said the prosecutor, Gregg Cox, the head of Travis County’s Public […]

Lone Star Project requests investigation of severance packages

From the inbox: Today, Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle sent letters to the Texas Rangers, the State Auditor and the Travis County District Attorney requesting formal investigations into a series of questionable payments made by Attorney General Ken Paxton, State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, State Land Commissioner George P. Bush and other state officials. […]

Rangers investigating Rep. Dawnna Dukes

Busy days for them. The Texas Rangers have joined a Travis County District Attorney office criminal probe into state Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ use of staff, the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed. “At the request of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, the Texas Rangers are assisting in an investigation into alleged criminal misconduct of […]

Weekend scandal news roundup

If anything comes from the Texas Rangers investigation into his questionable expenditures, Ag Commissioner Sid Miller would be prosecuted in Travis County. If embattled Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is prosecuted for misusing government funds, his trial would be in Travis County, officials said Friday, despite a new law that sends some corruption cases against […]

Supreme Court dismisses effort to dissolve state’s first same-sex marriage

I could be wrong, but I believe this closes the books on all the same-sex marriage litigation from last year. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday tossed out Attorney General Ken Paxton’s effort to undo the union of the first gay couple to legally wed in Texas. The court-ordered same-sex marriage of two Austin women had occurred months before such unions were legalized by […]

Second complaint filed against Miller

You do the crime… A liberal advocacy group has filed another complaint against Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who found himself in hot water recently over possible misuse of state and campaign funds. The complaint, filed Wednesday by Progress Texas,asks the Texas Rangers to investigate Miller for using campaign funds to pay for a flight […]

Case against Rick Perry officially dismissed

So there you have it. The criminal case against former Gov. Rick Perry was officially dismissed on Wednesday, weeks after Texas’ highest criminal court ordered that it be dropped. Judge Bert Richardson, who presided over the case in Travis County and now serves on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, signed an order dismissing the […]

We’re still growing

The collapse of the oil boom has not slowed down Texas’ rapid population growth. The Houston area added more people last year than any metropolitan region in the country, continuing its exceptional growth of the last decade and a half, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday. Combined, the greater Houston metropolitan area, […]

Travis County GOP shakes its fist at its new Chair

Poor babies. At a packed Travis County GOP executive committee meeting Tuesday night, it took less than a minute for someone to acknowledge the elephant not in the room. “Give us wisdom to deal with the situation that we’re in,” Peggy Bower prayed during the opening invocation, to a chorus of quiet amens. “We pray […]

Is there anything more to the Rick Perry case?

I’m dubious. The special prosecutor in the abuse-of-power case against Rick Perry said Thursday he still hasn’t decided whether to drop the matter a week after the state’s highest criminal court ordered that the indictment against the former governor be dismissed. Special prosecutor Michael McCrum of San Antonio said he and his co-counsel, David Gonzalez, […]

Greg Abbott does not approve of Robert Morrow

Aw, that’s so cute. As the battle for control of the Travis County GOP heats up, and its newly elected chair writes increasingly raunchy tweets at breakneck speed, Gov. Greg Abbott has stepped into the fray to condemn his fellow Republican. “Robert Morrow in no way speaks for the Republican Party or its values,” read […]

2016 primary reactions and initial impressions

First, a couple of minor notes. Rep. Byron Cook ultimately pulled out a win in his nasty and high-profile primary. That’s good news for Speaker Joe Straus and the general forces of “government that isn’t like a three-year-old coming off a sugar high”. Rep. Wayne Smith was forced into a runoff but did not lose […]

The effect of the law that was supposed to cripple the Public Integrity Unit

Never tempt the weauxf gods. Or the Senate Republicans. Nearly a year after Texas Republicans cheered the passage of a law to strip the Travis County Public Integrity Unit’s power to investigate elected officials and state employees, the unit’s director says little actually has changed. Though the law took away the unit’s authority to prosecute […]

Our obsolete voting machines

From the Brennan Center: Executive Summary In January 2014, the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) issued a stern warning that should be of grave concern to all Americans: There is an “impending crisis … from the widespread wearing out of voting machines purchased a decade ago. … Jurisdictions do not have the money […]

Paxton prosecutors sue AG office to block records

Hold on to your hats. In an unusual and head-spinning twist, prosecutors in the criminal case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the attorney general’s office Thursday to block the release of sensitive case information that could hinder Paxton’s defense but that his own agency ordered to be turned over to a Texas newspaper. […]

Rep. Naishtat will not run for re-election

Godspeed. Longtime state Rep. Elliott Naishtat announced Thursday he will not seek re-election to the House seat he first won in 1990, despite saying earlier this week that he would. Naishtat, 70, said Tuesday he had discovered a renewed desire to run for office. But since then, he has “been very anxious and stressed about […]

Perry appeal briefs

The latest update on the appeals before the CCA in the Rick Perry matter. The 3rd Court of Appeals this summer tossed one of two counts against Perry, saying the coercion law underlying it violates the First Amendment. The 3rd Court agreed with Judge Bert Richardson, however, that Perry must face the charge of abuse […]

What is coercion, anyway?

It could be the defining legacy of Rick Perry’s career, depending on how things go in the courts. The coercion law has been used only sparingly in Texas, according to records for the past five years, and some legal experts call it problematic. Others, however, say its absence will be felt if the Texas Court […]

CCA will hear appeals of Perry’s indictments

It’s on. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday granted requests by both Perry and the Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney to determine whether the indictment against Perry should stand. The court set oral arguments for Nov. 4. […] Each side has until Oct. 21 to file briefs with the Texas Court of […]

Paxton loses again on same sex marriage

Good. Turning aside objections from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Travis County judge approved an out-of-court settlement Tuesday that recognizes the eight-year relationship of two Austin women as a common-law marriage. The settlement accepted by Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman ended an estate fight between Sonemaly Phrasavath and family members of the woman […]

Perry’s pathetic pity party

There isn’t a violin small enough. Rick Perry blamed his criminal indictment and exclusion from the Republican debate mainstage for his failed presidential bid in his first interview since suspending his presidential campaign on Friday. “The indictment by the Travis County district attorney’s office, this drunk DA that had used this office, we think, for […]

CCA gets ready to deal with Rick Perry

The action never stops. The next move in the felony case against Rick Perry belongs to the state’s highest criminal court, which will decide as early as mid-September whether to accept or reject two appeals in the case. The Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision could go a long way toward determining whether Perry, indicted by […]

Paxton still fighting same sex marriage

Some things never change. Despite his recent pledge to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling, Attorney General Ken Paxton is already seeking to prevent the decision from being applied in an Austin estate case. Paxton’s office filed a motion August 25 in Travis County’s probate court aimed at blocking an Austin woman […]

More on voting centers

I’ll be interested to see how this goes in Galveston. Just in time for the November election, Galveston County has launched the first mobile app of its kind in the state, called “Galveston Votes.” It uses GPS to direct people with lightning speed to the closest voting center. Fort Bend County in November will make […]