Thursday, January 19, 2017

Economics of the Affordable Care Act

Any effort to replace the Affordable Care Act will be confronted by the same structural imbalances in the health care economy that the legislation’s authors faced.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to repeal, was crafted to overcome two basic problems in the provision of health care in the United States. First, the costs are incredibly skewed, with just 10 percent of patients accounting for almost two thirds of the nation’s healthcare spending. The other problem is asymmetric information: Patients have far more knowledge about the state of their own health than insurers do. This means that the people with the largest costs are the ones most likely to sign up for insurance. These two problems make it impossible to get to universal coverage under a purely market-based system.

The problem with the skewing of health care costs is that while most people’s health spending is relatively limited, it remains very expensive to provide care for the costliest 10 percent. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects that per capita spending on health care in the US will average $10,800 in 2017. But the cost for the most expensive 10 percent of patients will average $54,000 per person, compared to an average of just $6,000 for everyone else. The cost for the healthiest 50 percent of patients averages under $700 per person.

Covering the least costly 90 percent of patients is manageable, but the cost of covering the least healthy 10 percent is exorbitant. Very few people could afford to pay $54,000 a year for an individual insurance policy. Furthermore, if insurers were to set their premiums in accordance with overall averages, they could anticipate a skewed patient pool. The more healthy half of the population, with average costs of less than $700 a year, would either limit their insurance to catastrophic plans that only cover very expensive medical care, or go without insurance altogether.

Click here to read the rest of the story:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Majority Support Paris Climate Agreement

A Washington Post-ABC News poll found Americans, by a 56-31 margin, want the U.S. to stay in the pollution-cutting pact. Another poll found 61 percent, counter to Trump, want the EPA's powers strengthened or preserved.

Donald Trump prepares to take office this week with an overwhelming majority of Americans saying in a new poll they don’t want him to carry out his campaign pledge to “withdraw” the U.S. from the international Paris Climate Agreement.

Fifty-six percent oppose withdrawal from the agreement, which was endorsed by 195 nations in 2015 and aims to shift humanity’s production of energy sharply away from fossil fuels, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll, published today.

Even Most Republican Voters Say Government Has Responsibility For Healthcare

For Democrats, public policy for using the federal government to make affordable health care available to American workers is an election winner! More than eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (85%) say the federal government should be responsible for health care coverage, compared with just 32% of Republicans and Republican leaners.

Democrats can win by promising American workers a Medicare-for-all "public option" health care coverage. As the debate continues over repeal of the Affordable Care Act and what might replace it, a growing share of Americans believe the federal government has a responsibility to make sure Americans have health care coverage, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

AARP: GOP Plan To Convert Medicare From “Defined Benefit” To “Defined Contribution” Program

As news of Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s proposed conversion of Medicare from a “Defined Benefit” to a “Defined Contribution” program spreads, it is stirring fears among the 57 million beneficiaries who rely on it to cover prescription drugs, doctor visits and hospitalizations. Democrats and consumer groups, including AARP, have pledged their opposition Ryan's plan.

Ironically, Ryan is proposing to convert Medicare into the very system he is rushing to repeal — the Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or “Obamacare”) — but without its protections, such as the requirement that private insurers cover those with pre-existing conditions.

Ryan claims that the ACA must be killed quickly because “we have to bring relief as fast as possible to people who are struggling under Obamacare.” Out of one side of his mouth, he asserts that young, healthy Americans are struggling to buy private health insurance, even though the government provides them with subsidies to help with the cost and requires that they can’t be turned down because of pre-existing conditions. Out of the other side of his mouth, Ryan claims that seniors and people with disabilities will be just fine with a government provided subsidy in the form of a voucher, and no other protection!

In a special report, AARP details what the state of Medicare is today and provides what you need to know about the upcoming debate in Washington over the nation’s most important health care program:
A Battle Looms by Bill Walsh

Republicans Plan To Destroy Social Security and Medicare

Republicans are desperate to destroy Social Security and Medicare. These two programs demonstrate government at its best. The federal government runs these two extremely popular programs more efficiently, universally, securely, and effectively than the private sector does with its alternatives — or indeed could, no matter how well those private sector programs were designed. This is in direct conflict with their fanatically-held beliefs that the private sector should run everything.

Republicans will do whatever they can, quietly, secretly, to destroy Social Security and Medicare. Republicans want to avoid political accountability by destroying Social Security and Medicare without leaving clear fingerprints.

When Republicans Repeal Affordable Healthcare

What happens when the Republican Party repeals the Affordable Care Act without enacting any kind of replacement? According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Republican-backed Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 — which passed a Senate vote in late 2015 but died due to President Obama’s veto — would drastically slash the number of Americans who have health insurance, while at the same time ensuring higher premiums and chaos in the insurance market.

Here are the CBO’s five biggest reasons the GOP’s repeal plan is a disaster for American health care:
  1. 18 million Americans would lose their insurance in the span of a year. Under the bill passed by Republicans — which would keep insurance market reforms in place but would gut both the Medicaid expansion and subsidies for people to buy private insurance — an estimated 18 million people would lose their health insurance within just one year.
  2. An additional 9 million would lose their insurance shortly after the first year of repeal. Once the elimination of both subsidies and expanded Medicaid happen, the number of people who lose their insurance thanks to the legislation will total 27 million. Over the long run, the CBO projects that the number of uninsured in the U.S. would increase by 32 million by 2026 over what it would have been without repealing the ACA.
  3. Premiums on the individual market would skyrocket by 20% to 25% relative to where they’d be without repeal within a year. In part because the GOP plan still bars insurers from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions, insurance premiums on the individual market would increase by as much as 25% within a year of Obamacare repeal, as insurers would scramble to raise prices to cover the costs of insuring more sick people.
  4. Premiums would then go up by 50% after the GOP eliminates the Medicaid expansion and private insurance subsidies. Once people who buy insurance individually lose access to subsidies to help them offset the costs, insurers will raise prices even higher — in fact, the CBO estimates that “premiums would about double by 2026” under the GOP’s bill.
  5. Half the country would be stuck in an area where no insurers would offer them non-group coverage. As if the projected price increases for individual market buyers weren’t bad enough, the CBO also says that many insurers will simply pull out of individual markets in many places, as “about half of the nation’s population lives in areas that would have no insurer participating in the nongroup market in the first year after the repeal of the marketplace subsidies took place.”
Repealing Obamacare is a huge tax cut for the rich. This did not play a major overt public role in the 2009-’10 debate about the law, but the Affordable Care Act’s financing rests on a remarkably progressive base. That means, as the Tax Policy Center has shown, repealing it would shower money on a remarkably small number of remarkably wealthy Americans. Read more about the GOP's tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Democratic Party Base Is Cell Phone Only

The most recent numbers on US wireless (cell phone) only households released in December show the inexorable rise of households without any landline telephone. The new report discloses that as of the first half of 2016, 49.3 percent of all U.S. households have no landline phone, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year, which is a statistically significant difference within this very large study. At 59.2 percent in 2015, the latest year individual state statistics are available, Texas has the highest cell phone only adoption rate of all 50 states.

Further, among households with both landline and cellular telephones, 16.3 percent received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones. Combined, 65.9 percent of American households are only or almost only reachable by calling a household member using their mobile cell phone number. At 75.8 percent, Texas has the highest prevalence of adults in wireless-only (59.2%) and wireless-mostly (16.6%) homes.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Fight For DNC Chair

When they meet in late February, the 400-plus members of the Democratic National Committee will elect a new chair. They will signal whether or not the party will boldly begin to transform itself back into the party of New Deals and Great Societies sought by the new generation of Democrats. Those 400-plus voting members of the DNC must take stock of the need to strike a bold new direction to reverse the party's losses.

Democrats lost another net 43 seats in legislatures across the country in 2016, after previously losing 910 seats during Obama's administration. Republicans added to their historic 2014 gains in the nation’s state legislatures with the addition of five state House chambers and two state Senate chambers in 2016.

Republicans are now in control of a record 67 (68 percent) of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers in the nation, more than twice the number (31) in which Democrats have a majority, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Republicans hold more total state legislative seats in the nation, well over 4,100 of the 7,383, than they have since 1920. Democrats now have total control of just 13 state legislatures.

Republicans gained 2 more states' governorships in 2016, after already gaining 12 over the last 8 years, increasing its total to 33, a record high last seen in 1922. Democrats had also lost 69 US House seats and 13 US Senate seats since 2009 and barely managed to stem further losses in 2016.

All that after Democrats had a 58-seat majority in the Senate, a 256 seat majority in the House, and held 28 governorships when Barack Obama took office in 2009. And Democrats face a more challenging election map in 2018 than they faced in 2016. Survival of the Democratic Party is literally on the line.

But the race for DNC chair has become a power struggle between Centrist and Progressive factions of the Democratic Party.

Climate Deniers In Control Of U.S. Government

2016 will officially be the hottest year on the books in more than 120 years of record keeping by U.S. agencies. It will be the third straight record-setting year — and of the 17 hottest years, 16 have been this century — a clear sign of the human-caused rise in global temperatures caused by the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases over the past century.

From January to December, 2016 was marked by record-breaking high temperatures worldwide. Countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Botswana, India, Niger and Iraq experienced their hottest temperatures ever recorded. And heat waves, many of them deadly, charred parts of Britain, France, South Africa, the U.S. and regions like Southeast Asia.
The poles were not spared from the heat. In November, for instance, sea ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic reached record lows. Scientists called it an “almost unprecedented” event at the time.

In the U.S., high temperatures were a feature throughout the year. Every month in 2016 had significantly more record high temperatures than record lows, according to a Climate Central report this week.
“The blistering pace of record-high temperatures across the country is the clearest sign of 2016’s extreme heat. Record-daily highs outpaced record-daily lows by 5.7-to-1 in 2016,” the nonprofit news organization wrote, citing preliminary data from the National Centers for Environmental Information. “That’s the largest ratio in 95 years of record keeping. Put another way, 85 percent of extreme temperature records set in 2016 were of the hot variety.”
The world is already more than halfway down the road to surpassing the Paris climate pact goal to limit warming to less than 2°C (3.6°F) by 2100

For the year-to-date, 2016 is 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th century average, according to NOAA, and 1.84°F (1.02°C) above the 1951-1980 average according to NASA. Averaging NASA and NOAA’s data, 2016’s temperature through November is 1.23°C (2.21°F) above the average from 1881-1910. (One reason NOAA’s global temperature for November may have been lower than NASA’s is that it doesn’t incorporate Arctic temperatures.)

One major area of warmth during both November and the year as a whole was the Arctic. During November, the Arctic saw an almost unprecedented sea ice retreat, capping off a year that has shocked even seasoned Arctic researchers.

The winter sea ice peak was the lowest on record (beating out 2015) and the summer minimum was the second lowest. Air temperatures in the region have continually been above average by double digits. Another hotspot for November was North America; the contiguous U.S. is poised to have its second-hottest year on record.

These milestones have climate scientists and policymakers concerned as President-elect Trump fills his cabinet with policy makers who reject the established science of climate change. Only one major political party in the world denies climate change, and it's now in total control of the most important political body in the world, the US federal government.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What Working Class Americans Lose When Trump Scraps Obamacare

Republicans spent the last six years trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. Republicans have passed over 50 bills to repeal the ACA, since gaining control of the House in November 2010, but with Obama in the White House, those Republican Bills were nothing more than campaign rhetoric.

Republicans have warned their voters about the evils of Obamacare for years, calling it a job killer, and claiming it pushes health insurance premium costs sky high for everyone, among other evils. They promised to repeal it immediately if only their voters would vote to give them complete control of the federal government.

Republicans and Donald Trump promised voters their life would immediately improve once the healthcare law is repealed. Now they not only control the House and Senate, President-elect Donald Trump is set to take office, and the GOP may finally get its wish to repeal Obamacare.

Sarah Silverman Post-Election Interview With Bernie Sanders

Comedian Sarah Silverman talks with former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on the state of the union after November’s election results. The nearly hour-long conversation touched on a number of contentious topics as the Vermont senator tried to inspire activism and hope.
“You have the right to demand a lot of the world in which you live in,” Sanders told the audience. “Unless you stand up and make those demands, nobody hears you.” 
Watch the unusual but candid conversation between Sarah Silverman and Bernie Sanders on Trump, Standing Rock,  how powerful people control politics and much more.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Texas Democratic Party Refocusing For Party Building

By Michael McPhail, SDEC Committeeman - reposted from FaceBook

I attended the final quarterly meeting of the Texas Democratic Party’s State Democratic Executive Committee Saturday, December 17, 2016. In contrast to our last meeting, which had no committee sessions and no real work done, we had a full and robust committee schedule and an active general session.

Monday, December 19, 2016

BlogTalkUSA: Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk Post-Election '16

Three post-election editions of the BlogTalkUSA "Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk" talk radio program with cohosts Michael Handley and Rheana Nevitt Piegols worth a listen. First, we talk with Texas Young Democrats President Celia Morgan and other young Democrats leaders. Second, we talk with long time political activist from Fort Worth and 2014 Democratic candidate for the U.S. House, 12th Congressional District of Texas Mark Greene. Third, we talk with Chairman John Richie who chairs the Association of Texas Democratic Party County Chairs, and he is a Committeeman on the State Democratic Party Executive Committee. John is also the Wichita Falls Democratic Party County Chairman. In the three programs we discuss how the Texas Democratic Party moves forward from 2016 to prepare for the 2018 election cycle.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Running For Elected Office In 2018

The Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 Texas primary election to nominate candidates for the Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 general election is little more than one year distant. All primary candidates of each political party must file an application with their respective party's county or state chairperson to have their name placed on the party's primary ballot.

The 2018 primary election filing period runs from November 20, 2017 through the filing deadline date of 5:00 PM, December 19, 2017. An application for the office of precinct chair may be filed from the 90th day before the date of the regular filing deadline - September 20, 2017. (Texas election code Sec. 172.023, if not changed during the 2017 legislative session.)

It's My Earned Benefit, Not My "Entitlement"

By Rob Tornoe - You can find more of his work here.
Remember, not only did you contribute to Social Security but your employer did too. It totaled a percentage of your income before taxes. If you averaged only 30K over your 49 year working life, that’s close to $220,500.

If you calculate the future value of $4,500 per year (yours & your employer’s contribution) at a simple 5% (less than what the govt. pays on the money that it borrows), after 49 years of working you’d have $892,919.98.

If you took out only 3% per year, you would receive $26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30 years, and that’s with no interest paid on that final amount on deposit! If you bought an annuity and it paid 4% per year, you’d have a lifetime income of $2,976.40 per month.

Who Will Chair The Democratic National Committee?

Democrats will elect a new Democratic National Committee Chairperson in 2017. The choice is to triple down on strategies of the past 25 years, verses a bold new vision for the future, as advocated by DNC chair candidate Rep. Keith Ellison.

The centrist 3rd way vision of the Democratic National Committee's past leadership, encapsulated by the tenure of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-Fla.) as DNC chair, led to Republicans gaining control of 71 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers and 14 governors' offices from the time Pres Obama took office through the 2016 election.

Democrats lost another net 43 seats in legislatures across the country in 2016, after previously loosing 910 seats during Obama's administration. Democrats now hold majorities in only 29 state legislative chambers. Republicans gained 2 more states' governorships in 2016, after already gaining 12 over the last 8 years, increasing its total to 33, a record high last seen in 1922.

Democrats had also lost 69 US House seats and 13 US Senate seats and barely managed to stem further losses in 2016. And now Democrats face a more challenging election map in 2018 than they faced in 2016. All that after Democrats had a 58-seat majority in the Senate, 256 seats in the House, and held 28 governorships when Barack Obama took office in 2009.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

DMN Endorses Democratic Presidential Nominee, For The First Time Since WWII

In an editorial published today, the DMN Editorial Board said: "We recommend Hillary Clinton for president -- There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. We recommend Hillary Clinton."

The editorial board had endorsed the Republican nominee in every presidential election dating back to World War II, except for the 1964 election when it remained neutral between Democratic President Texan native Lyndon B. Johnson and Republican challenger Barry Goldwater. While acknowledging its past issues with Clinton's handling of "certain issues," the editorial board contrasted her "experience in actual governance" to Trump. "Resume vs. resume, judgment vs. judgment, this election is no contest," the op-ed continued, making note of the host of Republican hands backing Clinton, including Jim Glassman, the founding director of the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas.
DMN: "We don't come to this decision easily. This newspaper has not recommended a Democrat for the nation's highest office since before World War II — if you're counting, that's more than 75 years and nearly 20 elections. The party's over-reliance on government and regulation to remedy the country's ills is at odds with our belief in private-sector ingenuity and innovation. Our values are more about individual liberty, free markets and a strong national defense."
Pronouncing Trump's values as "hostile to conservatism," the newspaper wrote that the Republican nominee "plays on fear — exploiting base instincts of xenophobia, racism and misogyny — to bring out the worst in all of us, rather than the best." In a separate editorial the DMN editorial board pronounced, "Donald Trump is not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote."

"Hillary Clinton has spent years in the trenches doing the hard work needed to prepare herself to lead our nation," the editorial board concludes. "In this race, at this time, she deserves your vote."

Monday, June 27, 2016

Next President Will Define U.S. Supreme Court to 2040

Supreme Court justices, federal court of appeals judges, and federal district court judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate, as required in the U.S. Constitution. The next president we elect could very well appoint four to five Supreme Court Justices and many dozens of federal court judges.

SCOTUS Says No To Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) Laws

In a 5-3 ruling on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court strikes down Texas' House Bill 2 (HB2) abortion regulation law, finding it places an "undue burden" on women's constitution right to make their own reproductive health care decisions.

This case challenged the constitutionality of two provisions of the HB2 law regulating abortion in Texas. One provision requires doctors who perform abortions to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital; the other requires abortion clinics to have facilities that are comparable to outpatient surgical centers. Inside the courtroom, lawyers for the state of Texas' tell the judges HB2 provisions are constitutional because they are intended to protect women’s health. Outside the courtroom, state leaders like Texas Governor Greg Abbott have admitted that the law is intended to limit abortion as much as possible.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

BlogTalkUSA: The Next Generation of Texas Voters

On our Tuesday evening program "Eyes Wide Open - Dem Blog Talk," this week, my co-host Rheana Nevitt Piegols and I talked with Celia Morgan, President of the Texas Young Democrats organization and Vice-Chair of the Young Democrats of America Labor Caucus.

We talked with Celia about the Texas Young Democrats caucus at the Texas State Democratic Convention last week, the growing Texas Young Democrats engagement in the political process, and Celia's election to be a delegate for Bernie Sanders at Democratic National Convention.

Click to listen to our podcast:

Listen or download - MP3

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Discriminatory Texas Photo Voter ID Law Remains In Effect

Updated March 9, 2016

The full U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to take up the Texas voter ID case Wednesday, further drawing out the law’s years long review by the federal court system on whether it violates the rights of certain voters. Multiple federal courts have already ruled the law has the intent and effect of violating voters' rights, but it remains alive under repeated appeals by the state of Texas.

The 5th Circuit's decision to hear the case, Veasey v. Abbott, en banc comes more than six months after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the full court to review a 5th circuit three-judge panel's ruling that the law has a “discriminatory effect” that violates the Voting Rights Act. Many believe the 5th Circuit, which has the most conservative judges of any US circuit court, will reverse the ruling of its three judge panel. Either way, the en banc decision will be appealed to SCOTUS. It's my opinion the appeals process will continue well beyond the November election this year, which means the ID law will remain in effect for the presidential general election. For the history of the law's journey through the federal court system, follow the link.

Publish Date September 24, 2015

Despite being found discriminatory and unconstitutional three times by three federal courts, Texas' SB14 photo voter ID law remains in effect, pending ongoing appeals by the state of Texas.

On Wednesday August 5, 2015, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans unanimously agreed with U.S. Southern District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos' October 2014 finding that Texas’ SB14 photo voter ID law has a discriminatory effect on black and Latino voters, and therefore violates section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Judge Ramos struck down Texas' voter photo I.D. law with a 147-page finding issued on October 9, 2014, but the ruling was stayed pending state of Texas' appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. A Fifth Circuit three-judge panel heard the appeal on April 28, 2015.

In its decision on August 5th,  the three-judge Fifth Circuit panel remanded the case back to the U.S. Southern District Court ordering Judge Ramos to fashion a specific legal remedy that recognizes legislators declared interest to prevent voter fraud in passing the SB14 law.

In other words, rather than just throw out the entire SB14 law, the Fifth Circuit told Judge Ramos to amend the language of the SB14 law to remedy its discriminatory effect.  Such a remedy, for example, could be to reinstate the acceptance at the polls of certain additional forms of identification, such as the Voter Registration Card, that is issued to every registered voter.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Supreme Court To Hear Texas Abortion Case

Updated Monday, February 29, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

The Supreme Court this week will hear arguments in the Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt case, which challenges the 2013 House Bill 2 Texas law threatening to close 13 of the 20 women's health care clinics that remain open in Texas. In addition to other reproductive health care services, those clinics provide abortions in the state.

This case challenges the constitutionality of two provisions of the HB2 law regulating abortion in Texas. One provision requires doctors who perform abortions to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital; the other requires abortion clinics to have facilities that are comparable to outpatient surgical centers. Inside the courtroom, lawyers for the state of Texas' tell the judges HB2 provisions are constitutional because they are intended to protect women’s health. Outside the courtroom, state leaders like Texas Governor Greg Abbott have admitted that the law is intended to limit abortion as much as possible.

Last June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a federal district judge's October 2013 ruling that HB2 violates the constitutional rights of women who seek an abortion as one of their reproductive health care options. The Fifth Circuit's ruling would have allowed the state to immediately enforce all provisions of HB2.

Immediately following that Fifth Circuit ruling, the Supreme Court granted plaintiff's petition asking the high court to temporarily blocked that appellate court's ruling, and Texas' enforcement of the HB2 law, pending appeal.  The plaintiffs argue the law offers little to no medical benefits to women and that the real intent of the law is to close clinics and limit women’s access to abortions.

The Fifth Circuit gave a sweeping 56 page endorsement of Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) law legislation anti-abortion lawmakers in Texas and other states have adopted in recent years to make abortion unavailable.

Original Post Date June 29, 2015

In a 5-4 order, the Supreme Court today temporarily blocked a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that was set to close all but nine abortion clinics in Texas by July 1. All 20 abortion clinics open in Texas today will be able to remain open as a result of this temporary order. The Chief Justice, Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, and Justice Alito opposed the application, according to the Supreme Court's order about the case, Whole Woman's Health, et al. v. Cole, Comm'r, TX DHS, et al.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Collin County 2016 Primary Early Voting Turnout

A total of 74,502 Dem and Rep primary ballots were cast early in Collin Co. through Friday, Feb 26th. Voter traffic on Friday was the heaviest to date with 22,334 ballots cast at early voting centers across the county. The ratio of Early to Election Day turnout will likely be about 50/50, so we will likely see about 75k total votes cast in Collin Co. Texas on Super Tuesday, for a grand total of 150,000 Dem and Rep primary ballots cast. That is well above the official turnout planning estimate of 100,000.

The 2016 cumulative early voting total of 74,502 in-person ballots cast through Friday compares to prior primary year full 11 day early voting totals of:
  • 2014 R+D = 30,263
  • 2012 R+D = 28,288
  • 2008 R+D = 59,033 (Rep: 23,368 - Dem: 35,665)
Of the 74,502 2016 primary in-person votes cast, 16,578 (22.4%) were Democratic Party ballots, and 57,471 (77.6%) were Republican ballots.

% Dem Voted
% Rep
18-19 25,548 15,453 60% 1,133 464 0.62% 669 0.90%
20-24 50,490 37,243 74% 1,831 860 1.16% 971 1.31%
25-29 48,949 33,748 69% 1,646 698 0.94% 948 1.27%
30-34 65,262 37,971 58% 2,592 912 1.23% 1,680 2.26%
35-39 74,045 45,119 61% 3,468 1,073 1.44% 2,395 3.22%
40-44 80,977 54,029 67% 5,202 1,362 1.83% 3,840 5.16%
45-49 72,580 57,287 79% 6,897 1,554 2.09% 5,343 7.18%
50-54 67,865 54,993 81% 8,615 1,733 2.33% 6,882 9.25%
55-59 53,330 47,295 89% 9,050 1,853 2.49% 7,197 9.67%
60-64 40,856 36,857 90% 9,331 1,966 2.64% 7,365 9.90%
65-69 33,312 31,193 94% 9,602 1,844 2.48% 7,758 10.43%
70-74 21,918 21,392 98% 7,454 1,190 1.60% 6,264 8.42%
75-79 13,834 12,976 94% 4,344 602 0.81% 3,742 5.03%
80-84 8,743 7,694 88% 2,089 265 0.36% 1,824 2.45%
85+ 8,341 6,981 84% 1,137 157 0.21% 980 1.32%
All 666,050 500,231 75% 74,391 16,533 22.22% 57,858 77.78%

Out of 500k currently registered voters, 47,907 have voted only in a prior Democratic Party primary, and 79,185 have voted in a prior Republican primary.

This year, 6,859 first time primary voters voted in the Democratic primary and 18,813 first time primary voters voted in the Republican primary.

Of the 47,907 who have voted only in a prior Democratic primary, 7,977 voted early in the 2016 primary. Of the 79,185 who have voted only in a prior Republican primary, 31,795 turned out early in 2016.

Crossover party voting was minimal with 484 prior Republican only voters voting in the Democratic primary, and 2,535 Democrats only voting in the Republican primary.

Of the 11,943 prior swing party primary voters, 4,712 voted Republican and 1,213 voted Democratic Party ballots this year.

Collin County 2016 primary turnout at early voting locations through Friday Feb 26th.

SITE Total Dem  % Dem Rep  % Rep
Allen Municipal Complex EV501 7,571 1,587 21% 5,984 79%
Carpenter Park Recreation Ctr EV601 4,789 1,330 28% 3,459 72%
Maribelle M. Davis Library EV200 3,931 1,157 29% 2,774 71%
John & Judy Gay Library EV212 6,081 1,141 19% 4,940 81%
Renner-Frankford Library EV074 4,136 1,118 27% 3,018 73%
Haggard Library EV164 3,367 946 28% 2,421 72%
CC Preston Ridge Campus EV117 4,129 942 23% 3,187 77%
CC Spring Creek Campus EV050 2,282 931 41% 1,351 59%
Harrington Library EV602 3,145 903 29% 2,242 71%
PISD Admin Blvd. EV603 3,599 758 21% 2,841 79%
Rita & Truett Smith Library EV222 3,637 705 19% 2,932 81%
Collin County Elections EV504 3,771 670 18% 3,101 82%
Christ UMC EV211 3,143 655 21% 2,488 79%
Murphy Community Ctr. EV252 2,595 634 24% 1,961 76%
Parr Library EV109 3,221 615 19% 2,606 81%
CC McKinney Campus EV043 1,647 381 23% 1,266 77%
Fire Station #7 EV172 1,920 351 18% 1,569 82%
Methodist Richardson Med. EV251 1,212 335 28% 877 72%
Frisco Senior Center EV194 1,424 306 21% 1,118 79%
Collin Center Higher Edu. EV202 1,142 219 19% 923 81%
Lovejoy ISD-Spurgin Admin EV174 1,483 167 11% 1,316 89%
Texas Star Bank EV165 1,076 161 15% 915 85%
Prosper Municipal Chambers EV215 1,289 119 9% 1,170 91%
Princeton City Hall EV214 831 98 12% 733 88%
Parker City Hall EV176 670 92 14% 578 86%
Lavon City Hall EV213 621 83 13% 538 87%
Old Settlers Rec. Center EV516 341 81 24% 260 76%
Celina ISD Admin Building EV721 772 67 9% 705 91%
Lucas Community Ctr. EV041 656 56 9% 600 91%
Farmersville City Hall EV011 224 26 12% 198 88%
Total 74,049 16,578 22% 57,471 78%

Early primary turnout on Friday 2/26 for the top few EV voting centers:

SITE Total Dem Dem % Rep Rep %
Allen Municipal Complex EV501 2,037 413 20% 1,624 80%
Carpenter Park Recreation Ctr EV601 1,413 363 26% 1,050 74%
Renner-Frankford Library EV074 1,089 299 27% 790 73%
John & Judy Gay Library EV212 1,697 276 16% 1,421 84%
Maribelle M. Davis Library EV200 1,132 272 24% 860 76%
CC Spring Creek Campus EV050 691 266 38% 425 62%
Murphy Community Ctr. EV252 922 259 28% 663 72%
PISD Admin Blvd. EV603 1,152 251 22% 901 78%
Harrington Library EV602 837 251 30% 586 70%
Haggard Library EV164 835 227 27% 608 73%
CC Preston Ridge Campus EV117 1,117 221 20% 896 80%
Rita & Truett Smith Library EV222 1,093 202 18% 891 82%
Parr Library EV109 1,069 187 17% 882 83%
Christ UMC EV211 1,091 172 16% 919 84%
Collin County Elections EV504 889 151 17% 738 83%
Fire Station #7 EV172 661 135 20% 526 80%
Frisco Senior Center EV194 559 121 22% 438 78%
Methodist Richardson Med. EV251 397 113 28% 284 72%
CC McKinney Campus EV043 522 96 18% 426 82%
Collin Center Higher Edu. EV202 378 65 17% 313 83%
Texas Star Bank EV165 366 60 16% 306 84%
Lovejoy ISD-Spurgin Admin EV174 499 56 11% 443 89%
Prosper Municipal Chambers EV215 472 38 8% 434 92%
Princeton City Hall EV214 286 31 11% 255 89%
Parker City Hall EV176 235 31 13% 204 87%
Old Settlers Rec. Center EV516 121 28 23% 93 77%
Lucas Community Ctr. EV041 323 24 7% 299 93%
Lavon City Hall EV213 206 23 11% 183 89%
Celina ISD Admin Building EV721 255 13 5% 242 95%
Total 22,021 4,620 21% 17,401 79%

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Texas Early Voting Tuesday 2/16 - Friday 2/26

Registered County voters may vote early at ANY early voting location in Your County. Click here for Collin County early voting information and locations. Early Voting days and hours:
  • Tuesday-Friday, February 16-19: 8am-5pm
  • Saturday, February 20: 7am-7pm
  • Sunday, February 21: 1-6pm
  • Monday-Friday, February 22-26: 7am-7pm
Election Day is Tuesday, March 1, 7am-7pm

When voters head to the polls, they will need to bring a valid form of ID with them in order to be able to cast their vote. By Texas law, you must present one of the following:  (full details)
  • Driver’s license
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate(free document available through DPS)
  • Personal identification card
  • License to carry a handgun
  • Military ID (must have a photograph)
  • United States citizenship certificate (must have a photograph)
  • United States passport
Except for the citizenship certificate, all of these forms of ID must be current or have expired in the last 60 days.
Early voting lasts from February 16th – 26th. All Texas voters can go to any location in their county during early voting to cast their ballot, not just their neighborhood polling location. You can find more information about early voting in your county, including hours of operation for different polling locations, through the Secretary of State’s website here. On Election Day, March 1st, in most Texas counties you must vote in your precinct -- In Some Counties Including Collin County Registered voters may vote early at ANY voting location in the County on Election day.

On our BlogTalkUSA network program "Eyes Wide Open: DemBlogTalk," my cohost Rheana Nevitt Piegols and I celebrated the first day of Texas early voting on Tuesday talking with some of the finest candidates in the state! Our distinguished guests were:
Listen to our Eyes Wide Open: DemBlogTalk program podcast:

Also on some Collin County ballots are John Bryant for Texas State Representative District 70, and Gnanse Nelson for Texas State Representative District 66.

Not sure if you’re registered to vote in the primary? Find out here.

Voter information:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Democratic Primary Nominating Delegate Allocations

In order to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, a candidate must accumulate 2,382 out of 4,761 available delegate votes to win the nominating vote at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

There are two basic types of Democratic convention delegates: pledged and unpledged (super) delegates. A candidate is eligible to win a share of the pledged delegates at stake in a state if he or she receives at least 15 percent of votes cast in a primary or the preferences expressed in a caucus, either in a congressional district or statewide. Individuals who are pledged delegates are "pledged" to vote for the candidate to whom they are allocated at the Democratic National Convention. There are expected to be approximately 4,051 pledged delegates at the convention. There are three categories of pledged delegates: congressional district delegates, at-large delegates and pledged party leader and elected officials, or PLEO delegates.

Congressional district delegates are allocated proportionally based on the results of the primary or caucus in a congressional district. The number of district delegates that are apportioned to each congressional district is determined by the Democratic vote in each district in recent elections. At-large delegates are allocated proportionally based on the statewide results in the primary or caucus. Pledged party leaders and elected officials (PLEO delegates) are delegates by virtue of their office; PLEO delegates can include statewide elected officials, state legislators, local elected officials or party leaders. PLEO delegates are allocated proportionally based on the statewide results of the primary or caucus.

Unpledged delegates, often referred to as "super delegates," are automatic delegates to the convention and are not required to pledge their support to a presidential candidate. Unpledged delegates are members of the Democratic National Committee, Democratic members of Congress, Democratic governors, or distinguished party leaders - such as former presidents or vice presidents.  (List of Super Delegates)

There are expected to be approximately 710 unpledged Democratic convention super delegates in 2016, which makes up 15 percent of the total convention delegate number. If an unpledged delegate is unable to attend the convention, an alternate delegate is not substituted as a replacement.

An Associated Press survey conducted in November found 357 super delegates "planned" to support Hillary Clinton, 14 planned to support Bernie Sanders, and 339 remain publicly uncommitted and available to either candidate.

While super delegates are free to back whomever they choose at the convention, to count 357 super delegates as sure votes for Clinton at this stage is putting the cart before the horse. It’s highly unlikely they will come into play in the first place. If Sanders were to arrive at the convention with a majority of bound delegates, but fewer than the 2,382 needed to secure the nomination, it’s hard to imagine the super delegates would dare to buck the will of Democratic primary voters by swinging the count to Clinton’s favor.

For more perspective on super delegates, click this link: WaPo: Will superdelegates pick the Democratic nominee? Here’s everything you need to know.

Democratic Primary Nominating Delegate Allocation Table - Updated 2/11/15 @ 9:25 am cst

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Limited Ballots For Texas Early Primary Voting

Texas Election Law requires voters to vote in the county in which they currently reside. During the early voting period, and only during early voting, voters who find they are not registered in the county in which they currently reside when the go to vote, but find they remain registered to vote in a former Texas county of residence, may vote a "limited ballot" in the county in which they currently reside.  It is a violation of Texas Election Law for voters who have moved to a new county to return to their former county to voter, even though they remain registered in their former county of residence.

I have repeated that first paragraph of words many dozens of times during early voting of each election like the primary election starting on Tuesday, February 16th, for most of this century.

One of most common voter problem I and other Texas Election Judges encounter during every election is the failure of Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) offices to register some people to vote when they obtained, updated or renewed their driver's license. Over a third of all new Texas voter registrations original with Texas DPS.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 - the "Motor Voter Act" as it's commonly known - was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton on May 20, 1993, taking effect on January 1, 1995.

The Motor Voter law expanded voting rights by requiring state governments to offer everyone eligible to vote the opportunity to complete a voter registration application when they obtain, update or renew their driver's license, or other form of identification card issued by the DPS. The federal law indicates the voter registration shall be made or updated, but Texas DPS implemented the law in a way that effectively requires voters to affirmatively request the voter registration action.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Americans Trust Democrats More Than Republicans

A new Pew Research Center survey finds the American people trust Democrats more than Republicans 41 percent 31 percent.

The Pew Research Center’s annual survey of policy and priorities found that Democrats led Republicans on a wide range of character issues. Democrats had a 25 point lead (52%-27%) on being more willing to work with the other party. Democrats held a 20 point (52%-32%) advantage on the question of who is concerned with the needs of people like me. By a margin of 54%-35%, Republicans were found to be the more extreme party in their positions. Respondents also thought the Republican Party was more influenced by lobbyists than the Democratic Party (47%-30%), but the most telling question was who do people trust to govern ethically and honestly.

By a margin of 41%-31% those surveyed believed that Democrats govern in a more ethical and honest way than Republicans. This question goes to the heart of why Democrats continue to win elections. A majority of voters don’t trust the Republican Party. They don’t think Republicans will be honest with them. Some of these feelings are no doubt left over from the dishonest Bush administration, but much of the distrust comes from the way Republicans have chosen to govern.

Republicans have been fundamentally dishonest with the American people. After they took control of the House in 2010, John Boehner said the Republican agenda was all about jobs. He and his caucus then spent years on dozens of attempts to repeal the ACA. Boehner’s Republican House majority hasn’t proposed or passed a single jobs bill. However, they have voted to cut food stamps, energy assistance, aid for veterans, food for senior citizens, unemployment benefits, and almost every other aid program for the poor and middle class that you can think of.

While cutting programs for the poor and middle class, Republicans have aggressively pushed an agenda of tax cuts and benefits for corporations and the wealthy. This survey reveals that the American people are paying attention to what Republicans have been up to. Republicans can’t disguise their plans to cut taxes for the wealthy as a jobs bill, and expect no one to notice what they are really up to.

Republicans have shown repeatedly during the Obama presidency that they don’t care about the problems of average Americans. Democrats have taken up the mantle of fighting for everyone that the Republican agenda is harming, and people appear to be appreciating it.

The Republican Party is in shambles because they are accurately viewed by most Americans as the uncaring party of the rich. Republicans can pay lip service to the middle class and claim they care about poverty, but they aren’t fooling anyone.

The GOP in the 2016 election cycle is increasingly revealing itself as the party of the wealthy few focused on winning elections on message of fear and hate.

Understanding Donald Trump and The GOP

Friday, January 29, 2016

Students: Texas Photo ID Not Requied For Mail Ballots

I hope young Texans old enough to vote, in their late teens and twenties, have registered to vote and will vote in the 2016 primary election. The voter registration deadline is Monday, February 1, 2016.

But even holding their Voter Registration Certificate, many young Texans may not be able to vote, because they don't have a driver's license, concealed handgun license or passport. They may not be able to vote because Texas' SB14 voter ID law remains in effect, as of the date of this article, pending further action by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Many college dorm resident students attending college in a city or state away from their home don't have a car or a driver's license - or their birth certificate.

But students attending college in a city or state away from home can request a vote-by-mail ballot from their parent's home county elections office, if the student is registered to vote in their home county -- and did not re-register in the county where they attend college. No ID is required to request and vote a mail ballot from your home county.  Application for a Ballot by Mail - click here.

Any registered Texas voter who is 65 years or older or disabled, or who will be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting may request and vote a mail mail ballot. If you are eligible to vote by mail - request your mail ballot today! The last day to submit mail ballot application is Friday, February 19, 2016 - received at the county elections office, not just postmarked. 

To check your registration status in a Texas county - click here. If you find you are not registered, you can find the Voter's Registration application by clicking here. For specific information about voting in Texas, click here.

Many other citizens, including women and the elderly, also find they face just extraordinary complications in obtaining their Texas driver license, or other ID card. To get a government-issued ID, the state requires a certified copy of your birth certificate, from your state of birth. Many find they don't have an official state certified birth certificate, This group includes many African-Americans in their mid-fifties and older who were delivered by midwife in an era when many hospitals did not admit nonwhite mothers. It also includes unofficial adoptions of children given to relatives or other families to raise. Others may have had their birth and marriage records destroyed by tornado, hurricane, fire or flood.

The Texas Department of Public Safety women often challenge women on their "true identity" because 90% change their names on marriage to their husband's surname, which is different from their birth certificate surname.

Many Americans don't understand why some voters don't have a driver's license or other photo ID. A Rasmussen Reports poll in mid-2015 found support for photo ID laws at 76 percent.  Democrats often accuse Republicans of attempting to keep minorities from the polls with the photo requirement, but even the Democratic Party faithful see approve of voter I.D. requirement.

Rasmussen found 58 percent of Democrats believe a government-issued ID must be shown to be able to vote. The poll also found 92 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of voters not affiliated with either major party support photo ID laws. Most do believe non-eligible (non-citizens) voting is a significant problem; Only 37 percent of all voters think it is more common for eligible voters to be prevented from voting because they lack a photo ID, than it is for non-eligible voters to vote.
Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID:
  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport
With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.
Read more at: Texas Voter Registration and I.D. Requirements For 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

BlogTalkUSA: Eyes Wide Open / DemBlogTalk - 01/26/2016

On our Tuesday evening program this week, my co-host Rheana Nevitt Piegols and I first talked with Kenneth Sanders, who is the African America Outreach Director for Senator Bernie Sanders' Texas campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Kenneth gave us his perspective on why so many volunteers across Texas are flocking to work for the Sanders campaign.

In the next program segment, Rheana and I talk with Celia Morgan, President of Texas Young Democrats and Vice-Chair of the Young Democrats of America Labor Caucus.

Our other guests Tuesday evening for a round table discussion on how Young Democrats across Texas and American are engaging in the political process were Collin County Texas Young Democrats President, Kevin Numerick, and CCYD's founder and past President Michael Messer, who is running for Collin County Justice of Peace.

These three young Democrats - actually, four, counting Rheana - engaged in a smart and insightful discussion on politics in Texas and America today. (starting at the 31 min mark on the podcast.) You don't want to miss listening to this week's podcast.

Click to listen to our podcast:

Listen or download - MP3

Who Is Senate Berie Sanders

Watch count down of the Top 10 Reasons Why Bernie Sanders May Actually Become President.