Republican Texas lawmaker proposes ban on polling places at universities and K-12 schools

Briana Conner Image
Thursday, February 23, 2023
TX lawmaker wants to ban polling places on college campuses
A Texas lawmaker says she wants to ban voting on college campuses, and claims it's too dangerous to vote on school grounds. But advocates argue that this is just another attempt to suppress young voters.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Voting rights advocates are slamming a Texas lawmaker's plan to remove polling places from college campuses.

Young people drove Democratic turnout in recent elections and tend to lean with the party, but the Republican who's behind this proposal said her bill isn't about that.

House Bill 2390 is short and to the point. It would prohibit the designation of polling place locations on the campuses of institutions of higher education.

"I also have a bill that is being drafted right now to remove polling locations at K-12 public schools and charters," Republican Rep. Carrie Isaac said.

Isaac said her intent is to keep strangers away from school campuses, especially considering Texas' long early voting period.

"We're open for two weeks, every day, and I don't believe it's wise that we invite people onto our campuses that would not normally have a purpose on our campus," Isaac said.

Pam Gaskin, who has been advocating for voting rights for almost 30 years with a nonpartisan group called the League of Women Voters, thinks the bill is flawed.

"This is a far reach to say that this is a safety issue. She needs to come up with something better than that," Gaskin said. "We are just now getting young people to where they're interested in voting."

Gaskin called Rep. Isaac's bill another attempt to suppress voters like Texas Southern University freshman Jourdan Jones.

'That just makes it really convenient for young people. Instead of having to go and look up where voting locations were, we were reminded every day we could vote here on campus," Jones, who voted for the first time on campus last November, said.

Jones also pointed out that public universities like TSU already have open campuses.

"The library right there is also public. Anybody can go in there and use it. I feel like there shouldn't be much of a difference when it comes to voting," she said.

"It should be easy to vote, period. Voting should be accessible to everyone who is registered," Gaskin added.

Despite the arguments for access, Isaac said her bill would not strip young people of their power at the polls.

"I have the utmost confidence in our young adults here in Texas to be able to vote at a polling location, no matter where it is located," she said.

Democratic Rep. Gina Hinojosa has introduced a bill that would require colleges with 8,000 or more students to have at least one polling location.

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