Election 2020: Everything To Know About Voting Requirements and Deadlines

The November elections are just around the corner and there is a lot to keep track of when it comes to things like registering to vote, absentee ballot applications and voter ID requirements.

That’s why Marfa Public Radio is here with your guide on what and when you need to do to vote in the 2020 elections.


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Marfa Public Radio Is Looking For A News Director

Marfa Public Radio is one of the most awarded small-market stations in the nation for excellence in journalism. MPR serves approximately 30,000 square miles of Far West Texas, plus an online streaming audience worldwide.


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Carlo and his two daughters are pictured at El Buen Samaritano Migrant Shelter on Sept. 30, 2020 in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The family crossed the border in Mexicali, but were sent to Ciudad Juárez to await their asylum proceedings as part of the Migration Protection Protocols.(Paul Ratje For KERA)

The Asylum Trap: ‘The Last Thing You Think Of To Try’

Even before COVID-19, advocates argued the Migrant Protection Protocols left people vulnerable to violence. Now, with the pandemic closing immigration courts indefinitely, some desperate asylum seekers are considering sending their children across the border — alone.


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Midland Memorial Hospital is the only hospital in Midland and is leading the city's fight against the coronavirus. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

The Number Of COVID-19 Patients Surge At Midland – Odessa Hospitals As West Texas See A Spike In Coronvirus Cases

By Mitch Borden

Hospitals in the Permian Basin hubs are facing a wave of coronavirus cases as more West Texans test positive for the virus. Health officials are even seeing patients from the panhandle and New Mexico fill local hospital beds as facilities near capacity across the state. 

This has caused leaders in Midland and Odessa to renew their calls for residents to continue social distancing and to stay vigilant.


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Gina Ortiz Jones and Tony Gonzales. Screenshots from campaign websites. (201021)

Gonzales, Jones Lay Out Divergent Priorities In District 23 Congressional Race

By Ari Snider

Early voting is underway, and Big Bend voters will help decide one of the most competitive races in the state — the bid to replace retiring Republican Congressman Will Hurd in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District.

Republican candidate Tony Gonzales hopes to keep the seat in the GOP column, while Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones — who narrowly lost in 2018 — is taking another shot at flipping the district. 


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A Honduran woman receives a food donation from Seguimos Adelante in Ciudad Ju‡rez on September 24, 2020.

The Asylum Trap: ‘Without Work, It’s Really Hard’

Life in an unfamiliar country was already challenging for asylum seekers before the pandemic. Now, COVID hasn’t just pushed back their court dates — it’s also made supporting themselves almost impossible.


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Cinthia, 24, from Honduras, an asylum seeker waiting out her case in Mexico, is pictured on August 26, 2020 at Pan de Vida Migrant Shelter in Ciudad Ju‡rez, Mexico. Like many others, her case has been delayed due to the pandemic, and her hope rides on the promise that Joe Biden will reverse Trump era immigration policy.

The Asylum Trap: ‘Stuck In Legal Purgatory’

Since the pandemic started, asylum seekers waiting in Mexico have had their immigration court hearings postponed — again and again. With their lives and asylum cases on indefinite hold, some consider other options.


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Cesar Pinell, 35. his wife Carolina, 25 and their son Donovan, 9, from Nicaragua are pictured in their room at Pan de Vida Migrant Shelter in Ciudad Ju‡rez, Mexico.

The Asylum Trap: ‘They Returned Us To A Country We Don’t Know

A Nicaraguan family tried to seek asylum in the United States. When they arrived at the border, they were instead sent to Mexico to wait out their case and are facing challenges they didn’t expect.


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Texas mail-in ballots require voters to sign the outer envelope. (Charlie Pearce for The Texas Tribune)

Texas Can Reject Mail-In Ballots Over Mismatched Signatures Without Giving Voters A Chance To Appeal, Court Rules

By Karen Brooks Harper, Texas Tribune

Texas election officials may continue rejecting mail-in ballots if they decide the signature on the ballot can’t be verified, without notifying voters until after the election that their ballot wasn’t counted, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday.


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The National Guard conducting coronavirus testing at Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department in Midland County. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

With Surging Cases, Public Coronavirus Returns To Big Bend

By Public Radio Staff

As the state of Texas heads toward a possible third surge of coronavirus cases, the Big Bend region is seeing its own uptick. In the last week, cases have cropped up in Marfa, Alpine, Presidio and even in the small town of Valentine.

Now, for the second time this month, the state is planning to send staff to the Big Bend region to conduct free public testing. While testing for COVID-19 is available in the region—at area clinics and at Big Bend Regional Medical Center—resources are severely limited and local health officials have largely reserved testing for residents who are exhibiting symptoms or have had direct contact with a person diagnosed with the coronavirus.


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In a 5 to 2 vote, Midland Independent School District's board voted to renamed Robert E. Lee High School to Legacy High School. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

Midland School Named For Confederate General Will Now Be Called Legacy High School

By Mitch Borden

After a three-hour meeting Wednesday night, Midland Independent School District’s board of trustees voted to rename Robert E. Lee High School—which residents commonly refer to as Midland Lee—and now call it Legacy High School. 


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Republican Jim Wright, left, and Democrat Chrysta Castañeda are both running for Texas Railroad Commission on very different platforms. (The campaign websites of Jim Wright and Chrysta Castañeda)

Voters Have 2 Very Different Choices For Texas’ Next Oil And Gas Regulator

By Kyra Buckley, Houston Public Media

Voters casting a ballot in Texas have the opportunity to choose the next state oil and gas regulator — and the two candidates in the race would have very different approaches to that role.


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(Photo credit: Brewster County Sheriff's Office Facebook)

In Race For Brewster County Sheriff, Longtime Incumbent Faces Write-In Candidate

By Carlos Morales

As early voting for the Nov. 3 elections begin, voters in Brewster County will weigh in on who they believe should be the next sheriff. 

Since the summer, the race for the county’s top cop has turned contentious. One candidate dropped out of the election after racist tweets he wrote years ago resurfaced. The current, longtime Sheriff had his cellphone hacked, which the FBI is investigating. And a write-in candidate, and current Alpine police officer, found himself in hot water after allegations of a wrongful arrest appeared on social media.


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Since it began entering the awards competition in 2011, Marfa Public Radio has received 54 Regional Murrow Awards and 5 national awards. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

Marfa Public Radio Earns Its Fifth National Edward R. Murrow Award

By Public Radio Staff

Marfa Public Radio has received a National Edward R. Murrow award for excellence in journalism from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Permian Basin reporter Mitch Borden was recognized in the hard news category among small-market radio stations. His reporting followed the convoluted and controversial story of Midland Independent School District’s 2019 bond election, where over 800 ballots disappeared—and when found, changed the outcome of the election. 


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El Paso, Texas. (Photo via Björn Blanck/Pixabay)

Texas Governor Sends Help to El Paso as Virus Spikes in Border City

By Travis Bubenik, Courthouse News

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is sending more than 70 health workers to the border city of El Paso as a resurgence of the coronavirus has officials warning of “virus fatigue” and urging residents to take precautions.


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Lubbock Man Pleads Guilty To Illegally Selling Odessa Mass Shooter And Others Firearms

By Mitch Borden 

The Lubbock man who illegally sold an AR-style rifle to the gunman who carried out a deadly attack in West Texas last year has pleaded guilty to illegally dealing firearms.

Marcus Anthony Braziel admitted to federal authorities he illegally sold weapons without a license—including, in 2016, to Seth Ator, the Odessa gunman who killed seven people and injured dozens more last year.

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In a Year of Drought, Birds Become a Warning, and a Prompt to Change

“How do you know but ev’ry bird that cuts the airy way is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?”  In his characteristically visionary style, the poet William Blake captured a sense of wonder many of us … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:45 am and 4:45 pm.
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Live: The 2020 Vice Presidential Debate

By NPR

Vice President Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris are debating in Salt Lake City. Their only face-off of the 2020 campaign comes with a wave of uncertainty with President Trump undergoing treatment for COVID-19.

Follow live updates and fact-checks on the debate.

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Gov. Greg Abbott Says Bars Can Reopen Next Week At 50% Capacity If Counties Opt In

By Alex Samuels and Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff, Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday afternoon that county officials may begin working with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to allow bars to operate with in-person service.

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Presidio County Election Officials Say Virus Precautions May Lead To Longer Lines

By Ari Snider

Though it is still early October, the November elections are already getting underway — mail-in ballots are being sent out, and early in-person voting begins Oct. 13. 

Election officials in West Texas, like their counterparts across the country, are preparing for an election altered by an expected surge in turnout and, of course, the coronavirus pandemic. Presidio County’s elections clerk, Mayra Del Bosque, says voters can expect a few visible changes at polling locations this year. 

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