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