Reporter, Votebeat Texas
Natalia Contreras has covered a range of topics as a community journalist including local government, public safety, immigration, and social issues. Natalia comes to Votebeat from the Austin American-Statesman, where her reporting focused on impacts of government policies on communities of color. Natalia previously reported for the Indianapolis Star, where she helped launch the first Spanish-language newsletter, and at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Natalia was born in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Lawmakers unanimously vote to roll back the 2021 ban on reusable data storage after Votebeat’s report on its expensive, unrealistic mandate.
The Senate and House bills had differed on whether someone should be punished for voting by mistake. Now the two chambers must reach an agreement.
Bill rooted in conspiracy theories about the multi-state program for cleaning voter rolls returns to the Senate for one more vote.
Harris County leaders say state’s new oversight laws would set a “dangerous precedent” and may challenge the effort in court.
The bill motivated by conspiracy theories about the voter-roll-checking program nearly died this week in the legislature. Now it’s back, and awaits an uncertain vote.
True the Vote co-founder Alan Vera dies at Texas Capitol moments before scheduled testimony on election bills
Alan Vera was a mainstay at the Texas Capitol, frequently consulting on legislation. Two weeks ago, the House Elections Committee sang him “Happy Birthday.”
Law would force the county to move election duties under its clerk and tax assessor-collector, in reaction to what critics call a continued pattern of election problems.
Proposals giving state officials more authority over local elections — triggered by Harris County’s election problems — are poised to win lawmakers’ support.
After Heider Garcia departs, “that skill set is gonna be very hard to replace,” election expert says.
Heider Garcia’s resignation comes in the wake of tensions with a county judge who ran his campaign on conservative election integrity.
The mandate they approved in 2021 will force counties to replace their election machines at a cost of more than $100 million — and to keep replacing them. One Senate bill to address the problem is moving ahead.
Texas lawmakers, citing problems in the state’s largest county, push to increase state authority over local elections
It took years to build the multi-state system known as ERIC, which weeds out duplicate, deceased, and suspicious voter registrations. Texas Republicans want to dump it, but there’s no viable replacement.
Lawmakers debate whether ineligible voters would be prosecuted for making a mistake. Republicans had lowered the penalty to a misdemeanor two years ago.
Conspiracy theory whirlwind threatens to blow Texas out of national program that keeps voter rolls updated
ERIC is a national system that Texas officials say is an important tool to keep voting rolls clean. But a band of right-wing voter fraud activists, joined by state GOP officials, wants to gut it.
Republican lawmakers work to reverse change to state law that made illegal voting a misdemeanor
GOP lawmakers filed two bills in response to Harris County’s recent Election Day problems.
SB 2, which reverses a provision of 2021’s election bill, is among Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s legislative priorities.
Officials worry the mandate for WORM devices will deprive them of the tech they use for accurate, speedy voting results.
Election officials say Ken Paxton’s legal opinion puts them in a bind: risk breaking the law or risk provoking lawsuits.
No evidence of widespread voter fraud has been found, but Attorney General Ken Paxton has been actively pursuing election-related crimes since he took office in 2015.
Long-awaited report finds conflicting statements from polling place supervisors on whether they ran out of ballot paper.
“He had our back”: John Scott’s legacy as secretary of state will be his defense of local election officials
Thrust into the job at a contentious time, Scott believed defending the integrity of Texas elections was his top priority.
In the latest fallout from Election Day woes, a GOP judicial candidate is suing to overturn her loss, citing unspecified data and “2,000 reports” of polling place problems.
Heider García no puso resistencia a las sospechas y amenazas del grupo. Los recibió y los escuchó.
After last-minute challenge from attorney general, county commissioners agree to certify those provisional votes in time for canvassing deadline.
The state’s biggest county has no central system for tracking problems, so it still can’t say how many polling places opened late, ran out of paper, or worked just fine.
In the face of their suspicions and threats, Heider Garcia didn’t fight back. He welcomed them in and listened.
Asian voters were most disproportionately affected by ID requirement under new voting law, according to analysis by the Brennan Center.
Case brought by allies of Laura Pressley sparked years-long conflict with Gillespie County election staff.