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Report: More Texans voted last year, but state still ranks among worst for turnout

March 19, 2019 GMT

AUSTIN — Despite having the most expensive and closely-watched U.S. Senate election in the nation last year, voter turnout in Texas ranked among the ten worst states for voter turnout in 2018, according to a new report on voting trends.

About 46 percent of eligible Texas voters cast a ballot in the November election, up from 29 percent four years earlier, according to “America Goes to the Polls 2018,” a report from Nonprofit VOTE and the US Elections Project. While the number of voters jumped, the turnout places Texas 41st in the country for voter turnout — up from 50th in the 2014 election.

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The national report blames Texas’ poor ranking on a deadline requiring voters register to vote four weeks before Election Day. Most states in the bottom 15 ranking for voter turnout require people to register to vote at least a month before the election. Most states with the highest turnout allow for same-day voter registration, according to the report.

Related: Texas rejects 2,400 online voter registrations as Oct. 9 deadline looms

The League of Women Voters of Texas argues it’s time the state “joins the modern age” and allow for same-day voter registration, read an email Tuesday from the group representing more than 8,000 voters who encourage active participation in government.

For Subscribers: Senate Democrats unmoved as DPS shoulders blame for voter purge errors

Texas lawmakers have filed legislation to allow online voter registration, including House Bill 361. The bill, sponsored by Democrats but also supported by some Republicans, has yet to get a hearing.

The report comes as voter advocates are still reeling over the Texas Secretary of State’s botched attempt to purge registered voters from the rolls in January. The secretary released a list of 95,000 registered voters the office suspected of being non-citizens, although local election officials quickly found tens of thousands of the names belonged to citizens.