Month: February 2021

A Look Ahead at Elections in Latin America

After watching the recent democratic turmoil in the United States with a mix of alarm and familiarity, neighbors in Latin America will soon begin their own busy season of elections. 2020 saw major electoral upheavals across the region, bringing about a return to democracy in some countries, while political disenfranchisement increased in others. As voters bring in new governments and make their opinions known about first-term administrations, divulging indicators about the future of the region may solidify into observable trends. In a region ravaged by COVID-19, elections present opportunities for citizens to influence the response to a pandemic that...

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Same Day Voter Registration Could Increase Texas Voter Turnout

Texas could become the latest state to enact same day voter registration. A bill filed by state Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-[District], would require two voter registrars to be present at each polling place on Election Day. The registrars would be able to register new voters, allowing them to cast a provisional ballot that day. In the next ten days, provisional votes would be verified and counted.  The current voter registration process in Texas requires an eligible voter to submit their voter registration application at least 30 days in advance of election day. In 2020, Oct. 5 was the registration...

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Prasad: New Opportunities to Address Health Disparities

Up to 80 percent of an individual’s health is determined by social factors. Black and Latinx individuals are up to six times more likely to die of COVID-19 and are up to seven percent more likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes than their white counterparts.  The key strategy to alleviating these disparities is addressing the social needs that create them, such as food insecurity, homelessness, and lack of access to healthcare. One of the biggest barriers to this approach is the standardization and sharing of social needs data between healthcare providers and community organizations....

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Campbell: Reform Policies Do Not Make Police Less Violent

This summer the Austin City Council voted to implement police reforms and reduce the Austin Police Department’s budget by $150 million. On its face, these passages appear to address the demands of this summer’s social movements. The city council voted to restrict the use of force and approved bans on certain forms of lethal munitions. Although the reported budget cut is $150 million, only $20 million has actually been cut from the department’s budget according to the city’s most recent adopted budget. Yet, the passage of police reforms in Austin and nationally is a façade–an empty gesture.  Passing reforms...

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