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The Brief: 2016 does little for Texas' historically low turnout rates

Although Texas registered a record number of voters ahead of the November election, 2016 does little to change Texas' history as a state with historically low voter turnout.

Austin City Hall on election day - Nov. 5, 2013

The Big Story

As the end of early voting nears, polls show 2016 may be a record-breaking year for voter turnout. However, this year’s high numbers do little to change the Lone Star State’s historically low turnout rates. Polls show that for every 10 Texas adults, fewer than five have voted in each of the past 10 presidential elections. The Tribune breaks down the state’s low voter turnout:

•  In the 2012 election, black Texans voted more than any other racial or ethnic group — 61.6 percent of the group’s population. Despite their high turnout rate, whites and Hispanics cast more ballots because their population numbers are much bigger. Hispanics and Asians, on the other hand, had a far lower turnout rate although they participated in presidential elections more than in midterm elections.

•  Adults ages 18 to 24 had the lowest turnout rate, while those 65 and up had the highest turnout rate in 2012. In addition, in counties where the median age was higher, the percentage of adults who cast ballots increased.

•  When it came to socioeconomic characteristics, counties with the smallest shares of college-educated adults didn’t have the lowest turnout rates, while the turnout rate in Collin County — which has the highest share of residents older than 25 with college degrees — wasn’t anywhere near the highest turnout rate among counties with an adult population of 10,000 or more.

•  Even though Texas registered a record number of voters ahead of the November election, it’s unlikely all of them will vote. In both the 2008 and 2012 elections, more than 5 million registered voters did not cast ballots. 

Tribune Today

Castro brothers to storm battleground states for Clinton
Beginning Thursday, two of the state's most prominent Democrats will campaign for Hillary Clinton in Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Iowa and Houston. 

Teaching to the sext: How Texas educators tackle a NSFW election
Texas teachers are finding plenty of lessons for students in the 2016 presidential election, but discussing some of the racier news requires a careful approach. 

TEA denies allegations of cap on special education
The Texas Education Agency denied allegations that it capped special education services for public school students at 8.5 percent in a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Education.

Rep. Michael McCaul suggests Congress could impeach Hillary Clinton
"I would hate to see this country thrown into a Constitutional crisis because of Hillary Clinton's behavior," McCaul said on Fox News.

GOP Sen. John Cornyn: I voted for Democrats in some uncontested races
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Wednesday he split his ticket for the Nov. 8 elections, voting for some Democratic candidates in Travis County races where a Republican was not on the ballot. 

What We're Reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

TEA suspends special education enrollment target, Houston Chronicle

'Keep the faith': Texans for Trump pay their own way to volunteer in critical battleground state, The Dallas Morning News 

Immigration agency is expanding family detention facilities, San Antonio Express-News

Almost $13 million has been spent in the rematch between Will Hurd and Pete Gallego in the San Antonio-area district, money that has paid for 4,000 TV ads in just two weeks, San Antonio Express-News

Judge accepts $1.9M settlement of Sandra Bland wrongful-death suit, The Dallas Morning News

Today in TribTalk

"Polling data suggest the attitudes sustaining Trump's candidacy in Texas will continue to play a role in GOP politics in Texas regardless of the future of the candidate himself."
James Henson and Joshua Blank, Texas Politics Project

"No one needs to tell Texans that water is a big deal — we know it in our bones. After enduring the drought that stretched from 2011 to 2015, we also know that planning for our future water needs is an urgent matter."
— Jennifer Walker and Tom Spencer, The Texas Living Waters Project

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   A Symposium on Transportation on Nov. 3 at Texas A&M University - Rudder Tower 

•   A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke on Nov. 4 at The Austin Club 

•   Live Post-Election TribCast on Nov. 9 at The Austin Club 

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

•   A Conversation with Michael K. Young, President of Texas A&M University on Dec. 1 at The Austin Club

•   San Antonio & the Legislature: A Preview of the 85th on Dec. 2 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

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