Texas A&M students continue to advocate for MSC early voting location

KBTX News 3 at Six Weekday EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 5:26 PM CST
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BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas (KBTX) - Texas A&M University students are still coming out to advocate for on campus voting. This comes after Brazos County Commissioners removed the Memorial Student Center as an early voting location last fall.

Emily Lightfoot is a sophomore at Texas A&M and vice president of Texas A&M’s chapter of ‘MOVE’. She joined the organization to be an advocate for voter rights awareness and increase voter registration among A&M students.

“I was really interested in specific issues in Texas,” said Lightfoot. “For me, it’s our right to vote. Our right to have our voices heard. Several of us came out to commissioners court today to have our voices heard, once again. We are still waiting for the MSC to be reinstated as an early voting location.”

Lightfoot said the ability to vote early on campus makes engaging in the civic duty more accessible to young voters.

“Students want to be able to vote on campus. People from all political sides want the accessibility to vote. Right now, my group is seeing bills proposed in Austin that are not allowing voting locations on campus in general. It’s very early but that thought is just scary and we can’t go through that.”

Just last week, Brazos County Commissioners approved a new committee to focus on the future of polling locations, like the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M. Officials say the committee is the first of its kind since the county switched to voting centers in 2014.

“The committee will make a recommendation to where it makes the most sense today to have polling locations,” said Brazos County Judge Duane Peters. “I suspect we’ll follow those recommendations as long as they meet the law.”

Ahead of the next election, the state legislature has given the new committee a lot to think about.

“There are three pieces of legislation that we talk about,” said Brazos County Commissioner Steve Aldrich. “One prohibits campus voting locations. One says it has to be and then there’s one that is staggered by the number of student population that you have. Honestly, I don’t think we need additional legislation, but if it happens, we’ll be ready to respond to whatever the state of Texas acts into law.”

Texas A&M MOVE students will visit the Texas State Capitol later in March to lobby against the proposed legislation banning campus polling locations. Lightfoot told KBTX her group will also continue to speak up at Brazos County commissioners court meetings to make their stance known.

Currently, the MSC is an election day voting location.