Lawyers Argue That Limited Early Voting at Texas State University Is Unconstitutional

Long lines are always a drag, but in the case of early voting, those endless waits can actually be illegal. After students faced hour and a half waits to for early voting at Texas State University, The Texas Tribune reports that lawyers from the Texas Civil Rights Project sent a letter to the county on behalf of several students and organizations such as MOVE Texas Action Fund and the League of Women Voters of Hays County, demanding action to make on-campus voting more convenient.

The on-campus polling place at Texas State was only open for three days, while most early voting locations are open for up to two weeks prior to the election. With such a small window of time, a lot of students found it hard to fit in voting around their otherwise hectic schedules.

One TSU student Justin Wright told local news outlet KXAN that the lines alone were enough to deter him from voting. “I saw it and realized what was going to happen and said I have so much work to do,” he said.

The demands in the TCRP’s letter included the reopening of the on-campus polling place and the opening another polling site on Election Day. The lawyers stated that the current set up was illegal because it suppressed the vote of a specific group of voters: young people.

Given the fact that the court responsible for establishing the county’s early voting locations is comprised of mostly Republicans, it’s hard not to see these rules through a partisan lens. According to The Pew Research Center, between Millenials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, Millenials are by far the most liberal. Furthermore, one poll found that only 27% of Millenials approve of Trump’s job as President, compared to 44% of Baby Boomers. With these statistics, it’s easy to see why people interpret limited early voting on campus as a partisan effort to aid Republicans. Although not everyone agrees with this interpretation.

 

Wally Kinney, president of the North Hays Republican Group, argued in favor of the current system, telling KXAN, “to change it in the middle of the election seems wrong to me no matter who it favors one way or the other.”

On Friday, KVUE reported that the Hays County Comissioners Court unanimously voted to concede to the demands of students and the TCRP, granting Texas State two more days of early voting on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. They also agreed to relocate a polling place, so that one will be open on the Texas State campus on election day.