The Big Conversation
A new project looking at voting rights around the country finds that in Texas, the attorney general has prosecuted just 15 cases of voter fraud since the 2012 primaries, none of which involved the type of fraud addressed by the state's controversial voter ID law.
Most of the cases involved people hired to harvest mail-in ballots, an activity that happens most often in Hispanic communities. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said those prosecutions "are very specifically oriented toward South Texas,” an accusation that was denied by the attorney general's office.
The project, which was undertaken by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, found that voter fraud was not particularly prevalent across the country. From 2000 through 2012, News21 found just 10 instances across the country of voter impersonation, the behavior targeted by voter ID laws, and no cases of voter impersonation over the past four years in Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, Texas or Kansas.
“Voter fraud is not a significant problem in the country,” Jennifer Clark of the Brennan Center, a public policy and law institute, told News21.
To view the complete report from News21, click here.
Trib Must Reads
Analysis: Texas in August is a Funny Place for a Trump Rally, by Ross Ramsey — Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee who is trailing in national polls and in important swing states around the country, is coming to Austin, Texas, for a rally this week. Go figure that one out.
As Trump Struggles, Texas Republicans Stand by Him, by Patrick Svitek — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has had a tough couple weeks, but many of Texas' top Republicans are sticking by him, with Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller vying to lead the parade.
Execution Halted for Jeff Wood, Who Never Killed Anyone, by Jolie McCullough — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halted the execution of Jeff Wood — a man who never killed anyone — six days before he was set to die by lethal injection.
Texas Sees "Unusual" Spike in Pregnancy-Related Deaths, Study Finds, by Edgar Walters — Texas has seen an “unusual,” dramatic increase in the number of women who died from pregnancy-related causes in the last five years, according to a new study.
After Athletics Scandal, Ken Starr Leaves Baylor Faculty, by Matthew Watkins — Months after he was removed as school president, Ken Starr's time at Baylor University is officially over.
The Day Ahead
Coastal erosion is on the agenda of the House Land & Resource Management Committee this morning at its 10:30 a.m. hearing at the Capitol complex. In addition, lawmakers will take a look at how prepared the state is for natural disasters. Elsewhere in the Capitol today, the Sunset Advisory Commission meets at 9 a.m. to consider recommendations to improve operations at the Railroad Commission and with the leadership of the state employees' retirement system.
(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)
A bankrupt frac-sand company, millions in losses, a Texas state senator and the FBI, San Antonio Express-News
How Dan Patrick’s plan to slash tuition grants could keep some Texans from college, The Dallas Morning News
Thousands of Central Texas students who failed STAAR promoted, Austin American-Statesman
Police investigating Texas A&M fraternity death, Houston Chronicle
Should the Texas Railroad Commission get a new name?, Austin American-Statesman
Payday lenders retreat in the face of new restrictions, Houston Chronicle
Is famous Balmorhea oasis threatened by oil drilling?, San Antonio Express-News
Regulator's emails show it ignored oil spills, El Paso Times
Quote to Note
“People are signing an oath. They are swearing they don’t have an ID. If they think they can come in and vote without an ID when they have one sitting in their pocket, that’s going to be problem.”
— Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, issuing a warning to voters that his office will investigate whether voters this November who say they don't have photo identification are telling the truth
Today in TribTalk
Let's exact justice and commute Jeff Wood's sentence, by David Simpson — Avoiding doing any wrong in measuring and meting out appropriate judgment must be our aim at every step in the criminal justice system, lest we subvert justice in the name of exacting it.
News From Home
The full program for the 2016 Texas Tribune Festival, featuring conversations about the future of health care, the sharing economy, Zika, abortion, standardized testing, higher ed funding, border security and, of course, Donald Trump, is now available. To view the Festival schedule & purchase tickets, visit texastribune.org/festival.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• A Conversation with state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and state Reps. Terry Canales and Bobby Guerra on Aug. 26 at UT-Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg
• San Antonio & the Legislature: The Election and Beyond on Sept. 14 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus
• The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin
• TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center
• A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo
• A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville