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Texas Matters: Runaway Election Audits And Why Southlake Matters

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People stand in the lobby of the Arizona state Senate to watch Senate President Karen Fann and Sen. Warren Petersen hold a press
Joseph Cooke
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The Republic/USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Co
People stand in the lobby of the Arizona state Senate to watch Senate President Karen Fann and Sen. Warren Petersen hold a press conference about the Maricopa County election audit in Phoenix on July 15, 2021.

The Second Special Session of the 87th Texas Legislature is over. During the 30-day assembly of Texas lawmakers called by Gov. Greg Abbott, more of his radical right agenda was passed including his election restriction bill, a ban of the teaching of so-called critical race theory, a hardening of bail laws against the poor. He also spent more money on border security, expanded virtual learning for students and restricted the use of medical abortion drugs.

But just before Sine Die there was a moment reminiscent of those Marvel super hero movies. In those films there are closing credit scenes that give you a taste of the next movie in the franchise with a glimpse of the next big super villain. We got something like that at the end of the special session in the Texas Senate. It was called Senate Bill 97.

SB 97 is Texas looking at the troubled and farcical Republican controlled election audit in Arizona and importing those practices here.

But with the special legislative session over, doesn’t that knock out SB 97 and its threat to election practices in Texas? It’s clear that there will be another special session this summer which will deal with redistricting and SB 97 will likely be reconstituted.

It’s unclear why Texas needs to pass a law that would require the audit of the 2020 Presidential Election in Texas since the state’s secretary of state reported to the legislature that the Texas election was safe and secure.

The Texas League of Women Voters is sounding the alarm about this authorizing partisan meddling in Texas elections in service of former President Donald Trump’s Big Lie. They are urging state leaders to reject any efforts to undermine voter confidence in our elections or to inject partisanship into elections.

Cindy Weatherby is the Voting Rights Chair for the Texas League of Women Voters.

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Southlake, Texas

Three years ago, a 9-second video went viral of a group of high school students chanting the n-word at a private party in Southlake, Texas.

There was a controversy, meetings were held and the school district responded by promising to incorporate cultural awareness into the curriculum.

But then came the backlash. A group of parents fought back, raised money — a lot of money — and made Carroll ISD ground zero for the debate over the teaching of "critical race theory."

Critical race theory is a hot button phrase that has been weaponized and deaminized by right wing media. They have become scary words to many white parents in Texas suburbs like in South Lake. There have been more racially offense videos, protests and public incidents.

A new podcast by NBC News take a deep dive into the world of South Lake. But what does this mostly white, affluent DFW suburb have to tell us about Texas and the nation? Turns — out a lot.

These suburbs are the political battle ground for America’s future. How conservative or how progressive the nation will be is being decided here. This is where Trump won, and then lost.

Antonia Hylton is an NBC News correspondent covering politics and justice and is the co-host of “Southlake,” a six-part podcast from NBC News.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi