News Roundup: New Initiative Aims To Register More Texans With Disabilities To Vote

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJuly 17, 2019 12:55 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

An effort to register more people with disabilities to vote has kicked off in Texas. The goal is to get more people ready to head to the polls ahead of the constitutional amendment election in November and the presidential primary and election next year. 

Ashley Lopez with KUT News reports activists are becoming deputy voter registrars as part of the outreach effort. 

The state of Texas has an estimated two million registered voters with disabilities. And disability rights groups here have been working to increase that bloc of voters for about three years now. Part of that work involves recruiting people to register voters. 

Jeff Miller, a policy specialist with Disability Rights Texas, says it’s important for those folks to have a lot of information about what they should do when helping people with disabilities. 

“Because Texas has some rather strict laws around registration, it’s really important that people that are helping other people register to vote understand what those laws are and what the rules are around when you take a card from someone or when you can help them mail the card or whatever,” Miller says. 

Miller says a recent study from Rutgers University shows the percentage of people with disabilities who voted in 2018 was much higher than in 2014. That includes turnout in Texas. But overall the state still had a very low voter participation rate compared to the rest of the country.

Dozens of rural Texas counties will receive funds to expand access to broadband internet. The Federal Communications Commission has released $524 million for this effort nationwide. $76.7 million of that funding will be used in Texas over the next decade to provide broadband to 33,901 unserved rural Texas homes and businesses. The Texas counties set to benefit from these federal dollars include Blanco, Coke and Mason counties.

The Democrat-led House of Representatives has been taking a closer look at the U.S. immigration system through a series of hearings. The House Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship questioned federal officials yesterday about processing delays at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Democratic Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia of Houston is a member of that committee. She says immigrants in her hometown face lengthy wait-times for green card applications. 

“For an N-400 application for naturalization the backlog varies between 14 to 21 months,” Garcia says.

A different House committee will question the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan Thursday. That hearing will focus on the treatment of migrants detained in federal facilities.

It looks like it’s time for the Emmy Awards to bow down. 

Texas-born superstar Beyonce Knowles-Carter has earned several Emmy nominations for her Netflix live concert film “Homecoming.” It documents her 2018 headlining Coachella performance.

The film is up for six awards including Outstanding Variety Special as well as Outstanding Writing and Directing for a Variety Special. The Emmy Awards will be held on September 22.