Alexa Ura / The Texas Tribune | KERA News

Alexa Ura / The Texas Tribune

Alexa Ura covers politics and demographics for The Texas Tribune, where she started as an intern in 2013. She previously covered health care for the Trib. While earning her journalism degree at the University of Texas at Austin, she was a reporter and editor for The Daily Texan. A Laredo native, Alexa is a fluent Spanish-speaker and is constantly seeking genuine Mexican food in Austin.

Voting Sign
Eddie Gaspar / The Texas Tribune

The first time former English professor Jarrod Stringer was told he couldn't vote in a Texas election, he sued. A federal appeals court tossed his case on a technicality, but one of the judges ended up admonishing state officials to not let it happen again.

Emily Albracht for The Texas Tribune

Under the trio of crosses atop its sandy brick building, the McCabe Roberts Avenue United Methodist Church has a history of bringing people together.

Two churches founded at the turn of the 20th century — one with a mostly white congregation, one mostly black — merged to form the small sanctuary on Beaumont's east side. In the 25 years since that union, the church has established itself as a pillar of the community even as its numbers have dwindled.

Population growth has pushed Harris County across federal thresholds that require offering ballots and other election assistance in four languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese.
Michael Stravato / The Texas Tribune

With a population greater than that of 26 states, speaking more than 145 languages, Harris County can be a difficult place to make oneself heard. That’s especially true at the ballot box.

Houston resident Hyunja Norman has watched her fellow Koreans struggle to participate in a city where politics play out primarily in English and Spanish. 

Robin Jerstad / The Texas Tribune

Worried about the suppression of young voters in 2020, national and Texas Democrats are suing the state over a newly implemented election measure that’s triggered the shuttering of early voting places, including on college campuses, in various parts of the state.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson / The Texas Tribune

When Crystal Mason got out of federal prison, she said, she “got out running.”

By Nov. 8, 2016, when she’d been out for months but was still on supervised release, she was working full-time at Santander Bank in downtown Dallas and enrolled in night classes at Ogle Beauty School, trying, she said, to show her children that a “bump in the road doesn’t determine your future.”

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Navigating the streets to the U.S. Supreme Court on a Sunday morning, veteran civil rights attorney Jose Garza was anxious.

It was the spring of 2018, and in two days the high court would consider whether Texas lawmakers had drawn political maps that purposefully undermined the voting strength of their state’s people of color.

A couple draped in U.S. and Mexican flags leave a rally in El Paso following the shooting. They'd just seen a mural unveiled by the family of a victim from last year's shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Stella M. Chávez / KERA

Barbara Canales’ family history is in some ways shaped by a deeply rooted understanding of bigotry and racism.

Her mother attended high school in Corpus Christi where the Mexican American students were segregated from their white peers; they were assigned separate gym lockers and even required to attend separate senior proms.

Image via the Texas Workforce Commission

After losing his last chief election officer over a botched review of the state’s voter rolls, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday appointed a new secretary of state: Ruth Ruggero Hughs.

Jesus Rosales / The Texas Tribune

Days after a white gunman murdered 22 people in El Paso in a shooting fueled by racism, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday said that he will hold another series of roundtable discussions to consider legislative proposals to address the tragedy.

Callie Richmond / The Texas Tribune

Just as they do every year, hundreds of county officials from all over Texas are packing a hotel ballroom in Austin this week for three days of all things elections.

On the agenda are a session on paying for primary elections and one on procedures for voting by mail. A half-hour is reserved for policy updates from the legislative session that wrapped up in late May.

Michael Stravato / The Texas Tribune

Thousands of Texans’ votes were thrown out during the last presidential and midterm elections after they showed up to vote at the wrong polling location on Election Day.

Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune

 

Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

When former Secretary of State David Whitley launched a review of the Texas voter rolls for supposed noncitizens, his office marked almost 100,000 voters for two reviews — one by county officials to question their voter eligibility and another by the Texas attorney general's office for possible criminal prosecution.

Voters lined up at the Austin Community College Highland Campus in Austin for the first day of early voting on Oct. 24, 2016.
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Three months after first questioning the citizenship status of almost 100,000 registered voters, the Texas secretary of state has agreed to end a review of the voter rolls for supposed noncitizens that was flawed from the start.

Michael Zanussi / Flickr

In a state where the population continues to rapidly swell, the sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth region remains a fundamental source for those gains.

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley office initiated a review of the voter rolls to look for noncitizens.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The U.S. House’s main investigative committee has opened an inquiry into the Texas secretary of state’s review of the voter rolls for supposed noncitizens.

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley at a state Senate Committee on Nominations hearing on Feb. 7, 2019. Whitley was appointed to the job by Gov. Greg Abbott, but Whitley must first clear the committee, then win a two-thirds vote in the Texas Senate.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Facing an uncertain path to confirmation after ordering a deeply flawed voter citizenship review that seemingly focused on naturalized citizens, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley is now apologizing to state lawmakers for the way his office rolled out the review — but he is still holding firm behind the overall effort.

"What they have set in motion is going to disenfranchise U.S. citizens and it's going to infringe on their right to vote," said state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas.
Associated Press

State Rep. Rafael Anchia had been alarmed by the actions of the Texas secretary of state’s office for days by the time the agency’s chief, David Whitley, walked into the Dallas Democrat’s Capitol office on Monday.

A "vote" sign in a yard in west Austin on March 6, 2018.
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

 

After flagging tens of thousands of registered voters for citizenship reviews, the Texas secretary of state’s office is now telling counties that some of those voters don’t belong on the lists they sent out.

The civil rights group indicated the state could be putting tens of thousands of U.S. citizens on a pathway to be dropped off voter rolls
Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

 

Voters in Houston arrive to cast ballots during the last hour of voting in the primaries on March 6, 2018.
Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

 

A view of the house floor during the second day of the 86th legislative session.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / Texas Tribune

 

Todd Wiseman

 

The House Chamber at the Texas Capitol.
Austin Price / The Texas Tribune

 

Amid continued scrutiny over how lawmakers handle reports of sexual misconduct by their colleagues, members of the House on Wednesday approved a measure that will strengthen the way the chamber addresses complaints of sexual harassment.

Karen Hill's father, A. Maceo Johnson, lost an election for Richardson ISD's school board in 1963. Since then, the district has had just one black school board member.
Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

In Karen Hill’s eyes, not much has changed since her father’s unsuccessful bid for Richardson Independent School District's board in 1963.

Brandon Formby / The Texas Tribune

At the end of the 2011 legislative session, state Rep. Rafael Anchia, a Dallas Democrat, sat down to dinner with a Republican colleague from the Texas House. Anchia was exhausted and incensed.

Are Texas Suburbs Slipping Away From Republicans?

Nov 8, 2018
Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

By the end of Election Day, the political maps of the state’s suburban and swing counties had a peculiar blue tint.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Once a hub for refugees starting new lives and reuniting with their families, refugee resettlement efforts in Texas are now a shadow of what they once were.

Verónica G. Cárdenas for The Texas Tribune

Despite the grim, long-standing realities of income inequality in the state, 2017 proved to be a year of solid economic improvement for Texas with ongoing gains that are reflective of the state’s post-recession bounce. 

Graphic by Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

Before 45 days pass in the next legislative session, Texas lawmakers must begin fixing discriminatory issues with the way in which North Texas' House District 90 was drawn.

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