Brazos County Commissioners create polling location committee ahead of fall elections

KBTX News 3 at Six Weekday EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 5:52 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Polling locations have become polarizing topic in this legislative session, and right here at Brazos County Commissioners Court.

Brazos County Commissioners unanimously voted for the creation of a citizens committee which considers locations for future voting areas. Officials say the committee is the first of its kind since the county switched to voting centers in 2014.

Fred Medina, a long-time Bryan resident, has been attending Brazos County Commissioners Court recently.

“I have been involved with politics before but I’m trying to get more into the citizen’s side,” said Medina. “It’s important that all voices are heard, especially since we’re talking about voting nowadays. We’ve been asking for another voting location near Santa Theresa Catholic Church, to be more available to the Spanish community. Also, it would be great to have Spanish speaking workers there as well.”

Accessible voting is one of Medina’s passions, and he said the need for input is greater than ever.

“I don’t know where this attack is coming in recent years with voting, making it harder for people to vote. For instance, trying to pass legislation, to close all campus locations and your reason is safety is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard of‚” Medina said. “After all we went through with the MSC and the students coming in every week to speak to the commissioners. It was a huge mess. Just think, without Texas A&M, what would Bryan-College Station’s economy be?”

Trudy Hancock, Brazos County Elections Administrator, told KBTX there will be 13 people on the new committee, all with one goal.

“We reached out to each of our entities. Both our cities, both our schools for representation. We also reached out to the Hispanic Forum and the NAACP, along with Student Affairs at A&M so we could have a voice from each of those,” said Hancock. “The goal is to bring people in to talk about their demographic’s needs so we can work together as a community.”

The committee includes representatives of the local NAACP, Texas A&M Student Affairs, the Hispanic Forum, and the Brazos County Republican and Democratic parties. As well as city and school district representatives from both Bryan and College Station, and four Brazos County government officials.

Hancock said the committee will begin its first meeting in a couple of weeks. She’s already started looking at the 158 pieces of state legislation filed in this year’s session.

“Its going to be getting to know each other, then we have to get into it quickly. There’s lots of work for the board to do. There’s several laws to follow, ADA requirements, we’re in the process of working with Texas Democracy Live. There’s going to be a lot that the committee has to consider, but the final say is the commissioners court,” Hancock said.

The committee will go in front of city leaders in July and discuss their proposed polling locations.

Here’s a list of the 13 committee members who were nominated by whomever they represent:

Elections AdministratorTrudy Hancock
County ClerkKaren McQueem
CommissionerNancy Berry
Republican PartyElianor Vessalli
Democratic PartyAlma DeJesus
City of Bryan, City SecretaryMary Lynne Stratta
City of College Station, City SecretaryTanya Smith
Bryan ISDTiffany Lee
College Station ISDCari Horn
Elections CoordinatorKrystal Ocon
NAACPEbony Tennell
Hispanic ForumIrma Pineda
Student AffairsStephen Senkel