Early Voting To Reopen At Texas State University
Hays County commissioners voted Friday to reopen early voting at Texas State University after voting rights advocates threatened to file a lawsuit.
Early voting at Texas State in San Marcos was pre-planned to end on Wednesday of this week. The university saw long lines during those three days. The Texas Civil Rights Project sent a demand letter to Hays county commissioners on behalf of MOVE Texas and the League of Women Voters.
In the letter, the advocates said refusal to reopen the site would be a violation of the Texas Elections Code and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
READ | The letter from the Texas Civil Rights Project
“The burdens imposed by closing the on-campus early voting location fall particularly and disproportionately on the County’s young voters, who are significantly more likely to live on or near campus and are less likely to have easy, immediate access to reliable transportation to vote off-campus,” the letter stated.
The groups gave the county until Friday afternoon to decide before filing a lawsuit.
Four members of the Hays County commissioners met Friday.
Hays County general counsel Mark Kennedy told commissioners the original schedule and poll placement for early voting in Hays County was approved in early August by both major political parties and the Hays County Elections Office.
“It is substantially the same as it has been in past elections,” he said.
Kennedy said to maintain a balance of voting, as required by Texas election law, two additional early voting locations would need to be opened in other parts of the county.
Commissioners voted unanimously to re-open early voting at Texas State and create two additional sites.
MOVE Texas Executive Director Drew Galloway said they were not expecting commissioners to agree.
“It was a great surprise this afternoon that not only did we get the early voting site extension that we asked for at Texas State, they also added two other polling places for early voting in the county and they also added an election day polling place at Texas State, as well. They went above and beyond our request for additional opportunities for young to vote on campus,” Galloway said.
Early voting will not reopen on campus until Thursday, due to a five-day notice requirement. In the meantime, a shuttle is being provided for students to vote at other sites in the county.
VIEW | A schedule of the changes made by commissioners:
- Thursday, Nov. 1 and Friday, Nov. 2 — Early voting. Texas State University's Lyndon B. Johnson Student Center in Hays County Precinct 3; Belterra Welcome Center in Hays County Precinct 2; and Hays County Health Department in Hays County Precinct 4
- Tuesday, Nov. 6 – Election Day. Texas State University Lyndon B. Johnson Student Center
Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.