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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Voting Guides: 2009 Constitutional Amendment Election

OK, OK. We know. It's an off-year election. You forgot to vote early. That's OK -- you can redeem yourself today. (Don't worry too much about voting on election day instead of early; the lines will probably be embarrassingly short anyway.)

What? You don't know what the issues on the ballot are, either? No worries: we've got you covered.

In a hurry? Looking for the Cliffs Notes version of where to go for info? Skip to the second-to-last paragraph. And then go vote!

Let's start with the obvious -- you can go to the Secretary of State's website and see the ballot language and a brief synopsis of the amendments, but unless you're up on the subjects themselves this is liable to be more confusing than anything. Good for knowing what specifically you'll read on the ballot, but perhaps not that much more.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have the Texas Legislative Council's report on the amendments (PDF). Great if you like reading the full text of the amendments themselves instead of overly sanitized ballot language, but the explanations are -- well, exhaustive is the nice way to put it. If you're looking to get a good idea in the span of a day, though, exhaustive will probably not be the word that comes to mind.

For a more manageable, yet still thorough, look at the amendments from both sides, you could try the House Research Organization's document. Most of the meat, little of the filler.

Of course, all these documents so far come from our state government -- which you may see as a good or a bad thing. If you'd prefer a third-party opinion that still offers both sides, the League of Women Voters has done the regular excellent job they do coming up with a brief and intelligible review of the amendments that hits all the important talking points for each side. If you're in a hurry and want something to print out and read in your spare time, this eight-pager is the way to go. (If you know your way around a voting booth, you could just print the first seven and save some paper.)

And finally, if you're in a big hurry (which, if you're reading this, is a very real possibility), state representative and Democratic rock star Scott Hochberg has once again put up his analysis of the amendments. They're brief, pithy, and have hyperlinks to the full text of the amendment as well as the HRO report's analysis if you decide you want more detail on a particular topic.

And I'd like to give special thanks to Houston mayor Bill White, who gave us his take in support of Propositions 4 and 8.

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