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Proposed bill could potentially ban colleges as polling locations

The lawmaker who proposed this bill is Carrie Isaac. She represents Hays County just south of Austin, where Texas State University is located.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Republican Rep. Carrie Isaac recently introduced a bill which would ban polling locations at public universities. 

This would make it more difficult for students to vote.

Isaac represents Hays County just south of Austin, where Texas State University is located.

While her bill would make it more difficult for college students to vote, Texas A&M Kingsville Associate Professor of political science Travis Braidwood said college campuses tend to have a lot of people live near them who aren't students.

"Potentially shutting them down anyway could also deprive other voters access to those voting places," he said. "It's really unfortunate. If anything, you want to expand the franchise of voting, not restrict it."  

3NEWS received recent voting statistics from the Nueces County Clerk's Office that gave an account of the number of voters at area universities.

Last November, 2,364 people voted at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi while 3,204 voted at Del Mar College. 

"So really, this raises the other question, if it isn't voter fraud, is this an attempt to suppress certain voters, particularly young voters?" Braidwood said.

Assistant Professor of political science for TAMU-CC Sanne Rikhoff said that colleges have long been at the center of discussion when it comes to polling locations.

"With this house bill, this is not the first time that university polling places have been in discussion in the legislature," Rikhoff said. "I can imagine that this stirs up the public and wanting to get involved." 

Democrats have a counter bill known as House Bill 644. However, Rikhoff said we're a long way from having either bill on the governor's desk.

"It's up to the House to decide whether to have a first reading of either of these bills," she said.

Rikhoff said counties normally have the deciding say in where polling locations are placed.

"The counties are ultimately the ones who decide where polling places will be in an election. And most often they choose public places with good parking, availability. And also a space in which these elections can take place throughout early voting and election days," she said.


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