Texas State students claim voter suppression during early voting

Hays

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — While most polling places are open for two full weeks for early voting, the Texas State polling location closed after just three days despite having hundreds of students vote and wait in line each day.  

Students are asking to re-open the location, but the North Hays GOP president is urging the county to keep the doors shut.  

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, long lines of Texas State students wrapped around corners and stretched down hallways for the chance to cast their vote. Hundreds waited for hours, others gave up.

“I saw it and realized what was going to happen and said I have so much work to do,” said Texas State University Student Justin Wright.  

Wright, like many, missed his chance to vote on campus. On Thursday, Texas State was no longer a polling location, stairwells are empty, hallways have their usual traffic and students are furious.  

“That’s not enough time at all, especially for students who may not be traditional students that have other things going on,” said Wright.  

Students began contacting county leaders and demanding more days to vote on campus. When democratic commissioner, Debbie Ingalsbe reached out for thoughts the president of the North Hays Republican Group, Wally Kinney spoke up.  

“If Debbie is bringing it forward, it probably means that it is going to favor the Democrats, so maybe I should not be in favor of this,” said Kinney.  

Kinney sent out an email to various groups asking them to contact commissioners and urge them NOT to extend voting times or days for university students. Adding students can vote at any other polling site in the county for the next week and a half.  

“To say that’s voter suppression is ridiculous,” said Kinney.  

Kinney says it’s not about political party, it’s about principle. “To change it in the middle of the election seems wrong to me no matter who it favors one way or the other. We have a process and we need to stick with the rules it seems to me like,” he said.  

But with only one other polling location in the city of San Marcos, students who would have to take a chain of buses to get there demand new rules. “Definitely extend the voting times that we have because students need it,” said Wright.  

The City of San Marcos says it’s not a significant difference than years past. The city says it used previous voter turnout to determine appropriate polling days and times. Last year, the city offered two early voting days on campus and in the 2016 presidential election, they offered four days on campus.  

KXAN is still waiting for a response from Hays County.

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