Battle erupts for extended early voting at Texas State University

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Star file photo

Sandra Sadek

Update: Oct. 26, 10:40 a.m.

The Hays County Commissioners Court will be holding an emergency meeting today at 12:15 p.m. to consult with counsel regarding a threat of litigation by the Texas Civil Rights Project regarding early voting and Election Day polling places. The meeting will be held in the Hays County Commissioners Courtroom, Room 301 and is open to the public.

The Texas Civil Rights Project sent a demand letter Thursday on behalf of two Texas State students, the League of Women Voters-Hays Co and MOVE Texas Action Fund to Hays County demanding the on-campus polling location reopens for early voting and Election Day, claiming the lack of an on-campus polling location is a violation of both the Texas Election Code and the U.S. Constitution. The county is given until 12 p.m. today to comply or face a lawsuit.

The University Star will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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Update: Oct. 25, 9:36 p.m.

Rides to the government center for Texas State students and San Marcos residents for early voting and Election Day will be offered by CARTS. A bus stop on Hopkins in front of Chimy’s and the small HEB is accessible from the Texas State campus.

For more information on free rides to the polls, call CARTS at 512.478.RIDE (7433) or visit www.RideCARTS.com.

The Hays County Commissioners Court issued a statement regarding the request for an extension of early voting on campus, claiming “due to the ‘public notice’ requirements for the branch voting schedule, extension of dates and times for any branch location is not practicable at this time.”

North Hays GOP President Wally Kinney stated in an email correspondence with The University Star that students had ample amount of time and opportunities to vote on campus during the designated days.

“I’m in favor of everyone having a fair opportunity to vote. That’s why I was in favor of having one ‘dedicated’ polling place for students on campus the first three days of early voting,” Kinney stated. “And that’s why I was in favor of some TSU faculty authorizing time for students to go vote . And that’s why I was in favor of CARTS offering free transportation for students to and from the Government Center to go vote. Students can vote at any early voting location in Hays County 8-5 M-Sat. this week and also 1 – 6 on Sunday. Then they can vote at the early voting locations next week M-F 7-7. They also will be able to vote on Election Day in their own precincts where they live. The city, county commissioners court, both political parties and other political subdivisions conducting elections this fall approved this schedule months ago. To change the schedule in the middle of the election is in my opinion wrong.  Since there was no apparent emergency, I urged my colleagues to oppose this change.   Therefore not only is there no voter suppression but there is more than ample opportunities for people in Hays County to vote – especially students who have much more flexible schedules than those voters who work 8 to 5.”

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Local San Marcos candidates are urging Hays County Commissioners to extend early voting days at Texas State in response to the high student turnout.

Several democratic candidates sent a letter to the commission asking for extended days and hours from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Ten candidates signed the letter.

In the letter, Democratic candidates said they “have very serious concerns that the extended wait times are suppressing the vote, therefore limiting the ability of eligible voters from exercising their right to vote, as guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”

10-24-18 Letter to Administrator Anderson-Hays County Commissioners

North Hays GOP President Wally Kinney is asking Hays County Republicans to oppose the extension of early voting on campus, stating “it favors Democrats and (they) sure don’t want to do that in this (…) close election (…),” according to a email screenshot circulating across social media.

A screenshot of an email circulating on Facebook with North Hays GOP President Wally Kinney’s message against extending early voting on campus.
Photo from Erin Zwiener’s Facebook account

Students, faculty and staff can email the following individuals with their concerns about voting and extending early voting on campus.

Debbie Gonzalez Ingalsbe, Precinct 1 and Acting Judge: [email protected]

Mark Jones, Precinct 2: [email protected]

Lon Shell, Precinct 3: [email protected]

Ray Whisenant, Precinct 4: [email protected]

The University Star will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.


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