News Roundup: Texas Appeals A Judge’s Orders To Comply With Federal Voter Registration Law

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 22, 2018 2:20 pm

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

A federal judge is giving Texas officials 45 days to implement online voter registration for Texans renewing or updating a driver’s license online. As Ashley Lopez with KUT News reports, it’s after years of the state only registering people to vote who showed up to a Department of Public Safety office in-person.

The court order, which was officially filed last Friday, says years of that practice have to change in the next several weeks. Beth Stevens with the Texas Civil Rights Project – which represents Texas voters challenging the state – says there are a couple things that have to happen now. First, the state has two weeks to come up with a public education campaign to inform voters things are changing.

“And then very quickly thereafter is the 45 day deadline,” Stevens says. “And that would be the big deadline because that’s when the state has to have made the change to their online system to allow for this voter registration and voter registration update when folks transact with DPS online.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a notice that he intends to appeal the order to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Unless that court blocks the lower court’s order, the state has to complete those changes and launch the public campaign in the coming weeks.

It’s Election Day in Texas party primary runoffs.

These are the races that still need to be decided since none of the candidates earned over 50 percent of the vote back in March. Today’s results will determine who will be their party’s nominee for the general election in November.

But what would happen if any of today’s races ended in a tie?

While that’s pretty unlikely, there is a protocol in place for that.

Sam Taylor, with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, says, “So if there is an exact tie, and all the votes come in, and there are the exact number of votes for each candidate – i.e. each candidate has exactly 50 percent – then it the Election Code says it goes to something called ‘casting lots.'”

And that means that candidates could flip a coin or play a game like rock, paper, scissors to determine who would appear on the ballot in November. You can learn more about what happens when Texas elections are tied from KUT News here.

A monkey traveling as cargo on an Americans Airline flight escaped from its crate at the San Antonio International Airport Monday. Texas Public Radio’s Joey Palacios reports wildlife experts were able to subdue the animal after about two hours.

The 10-year old Rhesus Macaque monkey is named Dawkins. It was en route from Brown University to a wildlife sanctuary in Cotulla about 80 miles from San Antonio. After it arrived in the Alamo City, Dawkins escaped from its crate. San Antonio Aviation director Russ Handy says wildlife experts from the San Antonio Zoo and the city were able to keep the monkey in an secured area behind the baggage claim area.

“Now I will tell you the monkey was having a little bit of fun,” Handy says. “If you envision what a baggage handling system looks like – it’s a lot of belts and bars and looks a little bit like a jungle so he was having a pretty good time up there.”

Dawkins did not enter the terminal and did not make any contact with passengers.