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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

CNN Iowa Democratic Town Hall - Jan 25, 2016

With only one week to go before the Iowa caucuses, the three remaining Democratic candidates for President took the stage at Drake University in Des Moines on CNN Monday night for a Town Hall discussion moderated by CNN New Day program anchor Chris Cuomo. Cuomo asked former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to answer a series of questions.

In the closing two comments of Martin O’Malley’s appearance on the latest Democratic Town Hall event, Martin O’Malley, not so inconspicuously, urged his Iowa contingent to back Bernie Sanders if they do not reach the 15% needed under caucus rules to cast a vote for O’Malley. Specifically he said,
“America’s looking for a new leader… We can not be this fed up with our gridlocked dysfunctional national politics and think that a resort to old ideologies or old names (ie. Clinton) is going to lead us forward… America needs new leadership and I need the O’Malley supporters out there on caucus night to hold strong and move forward like Iowa does.” Forward is not referring the status quo and old ideologies attached to the Clinton name.

He continues during his next and final question with his implied support of Sanders by saying, “Time and time again in the history of the state of Iowa, Iowa has found a way to sort the the noise and sort through the national polls and lift up a new leader for our country… That is what you did eight years ago when you lifted up Barrack Obama (over Clinton) to lead our country forward and we need to build upon his good work and continue to move forward. … I’m not here to praise you Iowa, I’m here to challenge you. Lift up a new leader. Because you can change the course of this presidential race. (From Clinton to Sanders) You can shift this dynamic on caucus night. … There is nothing so divided about our national politics that it can not be healed with a renewed faith in each other and new leadership… But I think it important, in order to move our country forward, that once again Iowa lift up a new leader. …”