Archive for April 10th, 2017

On Not Voting

Renée Cross, Jim Granato and Mark P. Jones have an eye-opening Op-Ed in today’s Chron on why some Texas registered voters didn’t show up at the polls this past November. From the Chron: Cross is associate director and Granato is executive director of the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs. Jones is Political Science Fellow at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and a research associate at the Hobby School.

This is a must read for local and state Dem leaders on how to combat low voter turnout in the upcoming 2018 general election.  Here is the beginning of the Op-Ed:

The state must do a better job of educating the state’s voters. The 2018 elections will be crucial for the state’s future, with positions ranging from U.S. senator and governor to county judge and constable on the ballot, and all registered voters need to understand the rules.

But as our study of registered voters who stayed home last fall found, confusion over the law may have kept some people from voting even though most could have complied. Latino voters were affected most significantly.

Now is the perfect time for attention to the issue as the Texas House Elections Committee on Monday takes up proposed voter ID legislation.

The University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs recently completed a report, “The Texas Voter ID Law and the 2016 Election,” based on surveys of registered voters who sat out the 2016 elections in the state’s two highest profile battleground jurisdictions: Harris County and Congressional District 23 (CD-23), which stretches from San Antonio to El Paso.

We found almost all registered voters who did not vote had a valid photo ID, and virtually no one was prevented from voting for lack of one of the seven state-approved forms of photo ID needed to vote in person.

However, these registered voters were poorly informed about the photo ID regulations, which are the foundation for revised ID legislation now being considered in the Legislature.

It’s no surprise that the Texas Secretary of State’s 2016 public education campaign left some voters uninformed about the voter ID law, given that only $2.5 million was allocated for the effort and the requirements changed just months before the election.

But legislators can correct that problem, even as they consider other changes to the law. We urge them to take that responsibility seriously in light of what we discovered.

Thirty-seven percent of registered voters in Harris County and 45 percent of those in CD-23 did not vote in November. But almost all of them could have. Altogether, 97 percent of registered non-voters in Harris County and 98 percent of those in CD-23 had an unexpired, state-approved photo ID. That rose to 99 percent in Harris County and remained at 98 percent in CD-23 when acceptable expired IDs were considered.

Lack of a state-approved photo ID kept almost no one – just one non-voter among the 819 surveyed – from voting in 2016.

Despite that, 1 in 7 non-voters signaled that lack of a state-approved photo ID was one of the reasons they did not vote. However, it was just one reason. Only 1.5 percent of non-voters in Harris County and fewer than 1 percent (0.5 percent) in CD-23 said lack of a state-approved photo ID kept them from voting.

Regardless, few actually understood the law.

Here is the entire Op-Ed that Dems need to check out: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Cross-Granato-Jones-State-should-focus-on-11059285.php.

The GOP controlled state of Texas is not interested in educating voters on how to go to the polls. Don’t expect them to cough up more dough for an education effort because the folks who are not voting are Dem voters. Dem leaders need to look for third parties to come in and expend major resources on voter education initiatives. To do nothing would be a travesty.  It certainly is fixable.

The ‘Stros are 4-3. We have two players hitting above .300. Name the two?

One reason Dems have done poorly statewide is because we stopped talking to folks in some parts of the state so it was good to see this tweet:

ANTONIO ARELLANO and 2 others liked

Beto O’Rourke‏Verified account@BetoORourke 13h13 hours ago

Beautiful evening with amazing people in Longview! Thank you for welcoming me & sharing what’s on your mind. Can’t wait to come back!

That’s Gregg County by the way in East Texas.  It is good to see Beto in Longview.

Commentary sometimes has to let you know the bad as well as the good. I saw this tweet yesterday:

FOX Business‏Verified account@FoxBusiness 2h2 hours ago

Women in Elizabeth Warren’s office make less than men – report http://fxn.ws/2nELXQg

Then I saw this Boston Herald editorial form yesterday:

Another Equal Pay Day has come and gone.

It’s the day that marks how far into the next year women have to work to match the annual earnings of men (using the Census Bureau’s annual adjusted pay gap). This year that day was April 4, just in case you missed the celebration.

Now last year Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren marked the day with an impassioned statement calling it a “national day of embarrassment.”

“By the sound of it, you would think it’s some sort of historic holiday commemorating the anniversary of a landmark day that our country guaranteed equal pay for women,” Warren said. “But that’s not what this is about. Not even close.

“The game is rigged against women and families, and it has to stop,” she added.

So this year the Washington Free Beacon had a special Equal Pay Day surprise for Warren in an article documenting that the pay gap in Warren’s Senate office is nearly 10 percent higher than the national average. By their calculation, women working for Warren earned 71 cents for every dollar paid to men during the 2016 fiscal year.

The Free Beacon’s analysis included only full-time staffers who were employed for the entire year. That meant Warren’s chief of staff, Mindy Myers, and her male replacement were not included in the calculation. But the report found only one woman,

Warren’s scheduling director, making $100,000 or more, while five men earned six-figure salaries.

It’s not that Warren’s the only hypocrite on Capitol Hill; she’s just the preachiest.

Really? Oh, well. I am sure she has a good explanation for this.

Dante and I were doing some work up in my attic yesterday and also doing some cleaning out stuff. We ran across a life size cardboard cutout of President Clinton dressed in Elvis gear with a sax hanging around his neck. I don’t know when, how or why it was acquired. I don’t know what I am going to do with the darn thing.

Afterwards we went to eat and Dante drove. Yes, Dante is now driving. He has a nice ride for sure.

The Chron’s Jenny Dial Creech has a column today that pretty much sums up where the ‘Stros are after week 1. Here is how it starts:

One week of the baseball season is done.

There have been seven games at Minute Park.

The Astros are 4-3 after their 5-4 win over Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.

With one week down and 25 to go, there have been highs, lows, questions answered and questions raised.

It’s not time to plan for a World Series appearance. And it’s not time to give up on the Astros yet, either.

They have a lot to work out, a lot of improvement to make and a lot of unexpected positives to build on.

After a week, what they also have is our attention. The Astros remain one of the more intriguing teams in the league.

This team is going to be an interesting, at times frustrating and all-around entertaining one to watch this season.

Every game last week showed something – great pitching, strong parts of the lineup, weak spots. And on Sunday, it showed grit.

Here is all of Creech’s column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/columnists/dialcreech/article/Creech-Intriguing-Astros-have-our-attention-11061856.php?cmpid=btfpm.

Evan Gattis if hitting .357 and Marwin Gonzalez is hitting .333 of course.

Today is Opening Day for the Mariners so we play at 4 pm H-Town time.

We now begin a six game roadie.

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