Texas lawmaker proposes bill to prohibit polling places at colleges

KBTX News 3 at Six Weekday EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 6:11 PM CST
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AUSTIN, Texas (KBTX) - One state lawmaker says she wants to see voting banned on college campuses.

District 73 Texas House Representative (R), Carrie Isaac, filed a bill on Thursday, Feb. 16 prohibiting polling places on higher education campuses. This comes just one day after a bill that requires polling locations on major college campuses took its first steps through the statehouse and now sits on the committee.

Rep. Isaac told KBTX she filed HB 2390 for one main reason.

“I’ve knocked a lot of doors on the campaign trail, spoke with a lot of concerned parents about safety of their children,” she said. “Its going to be a hot topic this legislative session. Governor Greg Abbott made this an emergency item. I believe that all schools are target rich environments.”

Isaac said keeping the polls away from campuses is in the best interest of safety due to too many non-students and faculty visiting public campuses like Texas A&M’s during elections.

“Having these long, drawn out primaries, in Texas we have the longest voting period than any other state,” said Isaac. “There’s a lot of opportunity there for people to be places they shouldn’t be. I just know in this session this is going to be a topic we cover intensely, school safety. I just believe these are a couple areas we can improve on.”

Kristina Samuel, student at Texas A&M and President of Move Texas, is an advocate for keeping polling locations at universities. Samuel began working to keep polling places on Texas A&M’s campus in the fall of 2022, when the Memorial Student Center was removed as an early voting location for Brazos County.

“We just want to really empower young people to understand their voice in local and state politics specifically. That’s what affects our day-to-day lives,” said Samuel. “When this was not even something we were anticipating for the upcoming midterm in 2022, but it’s something we’ve had to keep our ear to the ground for at Commissioners Court.”

In response to the recent bill by Rep. Isaac, Samuel said she and her group will take action.

“My organization, we’re actually planning on going to Austin in March to potentially do some testifying and lobbying at the Texas State Capitol. It’s binding and we don’t know where this proposed bill will show up. Hopefully it wont go far but you never know with Texas politics,” said Samuel. “I think we need a further explanation other than safety.”

If HB 2390 is passed, it will go into effect in early September.

Rep. Isaac told KBTX she is continuing to draft other bills that promote school safety in this legislative session, including one aimed at keeping polling places out of public Kindergarten through 12th grade schools and charters.