Texas college students allege voter suppression after GOP official calls for polling station to remain closed

Texas college students allege voter suppression after GOP official calls for polling station to remain closed
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Texas State University students are demanding extended voting times and more ways to vote on campus after the local GOP president reportedly urged the county to keep the university's polling location closed.

North Hays GOP President Wally Kinney reportedly sent an email to groups requesting that they contact commissioners and urge them not to extend voting times for college students, stating that students are able to vote at other polling sites in the county up to Election Day, local station KXAN reported Thursday.

“To say that’s voter suppression is ridiculous,” Kinney said, according to the local station.

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According to the email obtained by the outlet, Kinney reportedly wrote in his email that extending voting "probably means that it is going to favor the Democrats, so maybe I should not be in favor of this.” 

Students have been contacting county leaders for the temporary polling location to be reopened, the local NBC affiliate reported. According to the station, the polling site had a large turnout with "hundreds of students" waiting in line for hours during the three days it was open. Some students left before they were able to vote, citing long wait times.

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

Wright was among the many other students who were unable to cast their votes on campus after the polling location was closed. 

According to the station, many students are furious the polling site was closed and some have accused Kinney of voter suppression. 

The Texas Tribune reported that the county’s Republican-dominated commissioners court approved the polling location to serve as a temporary site where students could vote from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the first three days of early voting, which started in the area on Monday.

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

KXAN reported that Kinney only began to speak out once Democratic Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe began to seek input on students’ demand for more voting days on campus. 

Kinney reportedly said his call urging the campus polling location to remain closed is about principle, not politics.

“To change it in the middle of the election seems wrong to me no matter who it favors one way or the other,” Kinney said. “We have a process and we need to stick with the rules it seems to me like.” 

However, the station pointed out that San Marcos, where the university is located, only has one other polling location, which would require students without cars to take multiple buses in order to travel there.

“Definitely extend the voting times that we have because students need it,” Wright said.

Kinney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.