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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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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Gov. Greg Abbott says accusations against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton “raise serious concerns”

By Emma Platoff, Texas Tribune

Senior officials in the Texas Attorney General’s Office have asked federal law enforcement to “investigate allegations of improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential crimes” by their boss, the Austin-American Statesman and KVUE-TV first reported Saturday.

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Texas Governor Urges Trump to Oppose Nuclear Waste Plans

By Travis Bubenik, Courthouse News

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has come out against two rival plans to ship highly radioactive waste from the nation’s nuclear power plants to sites on the Texas-New Mexico border, saying either plan would be unsafe and would threaten the region’s sprawling Permian Basin oilfield.

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Brewster County Health Authority Steps Down, Officials Begin Search For Replacement

By Carlos Morales

Brewster County’s local health authority, Dr. Ekta Escovar, has formally stepped down from her role, which she’s held for the last seven months.

Dr. Escovar’s work included guiding the region’s response to the pandemic, providing regular updates to local officials and helping maintain Brewster County’s daily coronavirus dashboard that tracks the number of cases and hospitalizations.

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Fri. Oct 2 Interview: Artists and Politics: A Conversation

On this special edition of West Texas Talk, Elise Pepple checks in with the Judd Foundation about their partnership with For Freedoms — a platform for creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action by artists — as well as artists Carlos Motta and José Parlá, whose work for For Freedoms is now part of a month-long installation at Judd Foundation locations in New York and Marfa, Texas.

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West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and each Friday at 9:00 PM.
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Gov. Greg Abbott Orders Counties To Reduce Ballot Drop-Off Locations, Bolstering GOP Efforts To Limit Absentee Voting Options

By Emma Platoff, Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott threw the weight of his office Thursday behind Republican efforts to limit options for Texas voters who want to hand-deliver their completed absentee ballots for the November election — a rebuke to some large, Democratic counties that have set up multiple drop-off locations in what they call an effort to maximize voter convenience.

The Republican governor issued a proclamation directing counties to designate just one location for ballot drop-offs, and allowing political parties to install poll watchers to observe the process.

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