What are the rules in Texas regarding mail-in ballots (pre-COVID)?

· Answer the question(s) posed, with works cited. Must be a minimum of 250 words. The word count does not include your required works cited.

· Retyping the prompt(s) will not count towards total word count requirements.

DISCUSSION #1

We are in an election year at the same time we are facing a pandemic. This posed some difficulty as we attempted to head the polls to vote in the primary election season. As we head into the presidential election season, and uncertainty about the pandemic, we need to better understand some of the options being presented by lawmakers. Read the following articles and then answer each of the questions below:

1.) What are the rules in Texas regarding mail-in ballots (pre-COVID)?
2.) In the CNN article, what did the judge decide regarding the current election laws? How might this impact the upcoming elections? What is the argument provided by Governor Abbott and others who disagree with the temporary injunction? Which do you agree with?

3.) Per the Texas Tribune article, what are some of the safeguards being considered to make voting in person a safer prospect? What does Ken Paxton think about the prospect of changing the way we vote? Would these safeguards make you feel like enough was done to prevent getting sick from voting?

4.) As the current lawsuit looms, what is the role politics is taking on with regards to our health? What does the Democratic Party gain if mail-in ballots become easier to obtain? What does the Republic Party gain in keeping the laws as is?

5.) What does the article in the Texas Observer say about online voting?

6.) Overall, what are your thoughts, as a voter or potential voter, about this very controversial topic?

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/17/politics/texas-voting-by-mail-disability-coronavirus/index.html

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/04/20/despite-coronavirus-texas-plans-july-elections-person-voting/

https://www.kut.org/post/texas-democrats-sue-open-texas-vote-mail-laws-coronavirus-spreads

https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/texas-mail-voting-advantage-11915190?utm_source=Lone+Star+Project&utm_campaign=a6ecd08530-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_06_13_12_53_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a3eb6877c7-a6ecd08530-34123153

Discussion #2

For this discussion, we are going to look at Voter ID laws. Start by reading the following linked articles. Feel free to also do additional research as well. Once completed, answer the questions below.

https://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/need-id.html

https://www.brennancenter.org/legal-work/naacp-v-steen

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/05/texas-wins-fight-voter-id/

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/donald-trump-voter-id-laws-must-be-part-of-election-security-measures/ar-AAFWsVF

Questions:

· What does the law state about voter ID requirements? What was the purpose of establishing such laws?

· Explain the basis for the lawsuit, Texas NAACP v. Steen. What was the outcome?

· Explain the court ruling from 2018, which effectively ended the voter ID legal debate in Texas? Do you agree with the outcome?

· What is the most recent news related to voter ID laws? (Per the USA Today article from August 2019)

· Overall, where do you fall on this topic? Do you agree that voter ID laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud, etc. OR are these laws unnecessarily discriminatory? Explain.

Discussion #3

For this assessment, you will visit this link from the Texas Tribune: https://graphics.texastribune.org/graphics/redistricting-cd35/ , read these articles: https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2018-01-12/supreme-court-takes-up-fight-over-texas-electoral-districts AND https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2019/07/24/grave-concerns-court-texas-voting-maps/ , and then answer the following questions:

· What is redistricting? What is gerrymandering? How do both of these play into campaigns and elections?

· What was the original intent for redistricting the specified area in the first place?

· Was the redrawn district representative of the original intent and what have the courts had to say about this issue?

· As a citizen or resident of Texas, what do you think of the politicizing of districts in an effort to garner votes from specific types of people (race, ethnicity, gender, political party affiliation, etc)?

What are your overall thoughts and impressions about this issue? Should the politicians be taken completely out of the redistricting procedure, in an effort to maintain a bit more fairness or is the current system working? Why or why not?

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