Voting Rights

A day after a federal court invalidated two of Texas’s congressional districts because they were drawn to dilute minority voting power, a separate federal ruling has once again found Texas in violation of the Voting Rights Act. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that the Lone Star State restricted the interpretation assistance available for English-limited voters at the ballot box, according to the Texas Tribune. Part of the Texas Election Code requires interpreters to also be registered to vote in the same county in which they are helping voters cast ballots, which apparently goes against federal voting protections. The law violates a section of the Voting Rights Act which says any voter who needs assistance because of visual impairments, disabilities, or literacy skills can choose who helps them vote, provided it’s not their employer or a union leader. “The problem remains that the Texas provisions expressly limit the right to the act of casting a ballot,” the judges wrote in the opinion, according to the Tribune. “It should go without saying that a state cannot restrict this federally guaranteed right by enacting a statute tracking its language, then defining terms more restrictively than as federally defined.”

Five Flags

Six Flags Over Texas won’t be changing its name to Five Flags Over Texas anytime soon. That’s because the Arlington amusement park won’t remove its Confederate flag, even amid a wave of Confederate monument removals in cities across the country. TMZ first reported the park’s steadfast refusal to get rid of the Confederate banner that sits atop the park’s main gate, alongside the American flag, the Texas flag, and the Mexican flag. It’s not quite the stars-and-bars version that we’re all used to seeing, though—the one at Six Flags is the Flag of the Confederacy rather than the more commonly used Confederate Battle flag. A Six Flags rep told TMZ that park patrons “are astute enough to know the difference,” though it’s unclear what, exactly, the big difference is between two flags which both represent a failed secessionist state that embraced slavery. “Six Flags Over Texas continues to fly the Confederate States of America Flag and does not fly or sell any variation of the Confederate Battle Flag,” a Six Flags spokesperson told the Houston Chronicle.


It’s the hundredth anniversary of the first time license plates were used in Texas, and you can celebrate the big birthday by purchasing a pair of custom license plates, according to KXAS. The plates don’t come with candles or covered in funfetti, but they will feature a unique design commemorating the centennial. Car history nerds will want to act fast, because the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is only making the specialty plate available to the first 100 buyers. Those lucky few will receive a special plate pattern with “100” as the first three characters followed by three letters starting with “AAA.” There’s a seal in the center of the plate, reminiscent of the 1917 radiator seal, and on the top corners of the plate there’s a “19” and “17.” The plate also has security threads and the word “TEXAS” on a white background, just like it is on the current general-issue plate. The 100-year anniversary marker is doubly appropriate here, because that’s about how much time you spend waiting in line at most DMV offices!