Texas Civil Rights Project Got More Than 200 Early Voting Complaints This Week

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelOctober 27, 2016 10:55 am

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

Since early voting started on Monday, Texans have been raising concerns about long waits, faulty machines, and misinformation at the polls. Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider explains:

The Texas Civil Rights Project reports fielding more than two hundred complaints since Monday. Most are coming from the state’s largest metro areas. Zenén Jaimes Pérez is a spokesman for the project.

“So in the Bayland Park Community Center in Harris County, we actually saw people report to us that there was poll workers letting them know wrong information about the voter ID [law]. They were told that they needed photo ID. Same thing happened in other parts of Harris County. And we’re also seeing that actually in San Antonio.”

A federal appeals court ruled earlier this year that Texas’ voter ID law discriminated against minorities and the poor. Under a compromise agreement between Texas and the Justice Department, voters unable to obtain a photo ID can use several alternate forms of identification, such as a paycheck or a utility bill. But attorney Matt Williams says he saw something different when he went to vote in Dripping Springs, near Austin.

“Almost immediately upon arriving and getting in line, one of the poll workers started kind of intercepting the people walking out of the parking lot yelling, ‘You have to have a valid photo ID to vote today.’ And she continued, probably for the next half hour, her and one other lady would walk up and down the line, and they would yell that same information.”

Williams says several people in line protested, calling attention to the recent court ruling. They even pointed out the language on posters in the polling station, explaining the new rules. Williams says the poll workers ignored them.

A spokesperson for the Texas Secretary of State’s Office told Houston Public Media the office was unaware of poll workers providing incorrect information. Early voting ends on November 4.

House Speaker Joe Straus told the Texas Education Agency to stop limiting the number of special education students that schools serve. Rep. Straus sent the letter to TEA Commissioner Mike Morath on Wednesday.

The move comes after a Houston Chronicle investigation found the TEA set an arbitrary limit on the percentage of students that could get special education services. That limit is 8.5 percent – well below the national average.

As a result, tens of thousands of kids were denied support.

An Arlington a capella group is teaming up with the NFL. Grammy-winners Pentatonix will sing the theme song for NBC’s “Thursday Night Football.”

The name of the tune: “Weekend Go.” It was inspired by the group’s song, “Sing” which appeared on their self-titled album last year. 

NBC will start using the Pentatonix-performed theme song November 3 – and will be blasted before a total of nine games. And while the a cappella group might not sport any championship rings, they did win the third season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.”