Panel of Judges Rules in Favor of Prarie View Students
Prairie View students marching 7.3 miles to vote in the Democratic Primary (early 2008).
(Source: Election Strike Force Blog)
This week, students at the historically Black Prairie View A&M University scored an important election-year victory. Houston Chronicle reporter Cindy George explains: “Earlier this month, Justice Department officials sued Waller County in Houston federal court in an effort to enforce anti-discrimination provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The case alleged multiple voting and civil rights violations.”
These Justice department suit stemmed in part from the Waller County officials’ apparent efforts to limit the participation of Prairie View students in the current election. According to the Chronicle, some students are disappointed that the judges’ order stops short of calling for a polling place on campus. Still, the order represents significant progress toward free and open elections in the county, including several requirements that make it considerably more difficult for local officials to cut registrants from the roles. The Chronicle describes the judges’ order:
For the next four years, Waller County officials must justify all rejected voter registrations to the U.S. Justice Department and report every voter application received during registration drives at Prairie View A&M University, a three-judge panel has ruled.
The order also means that the county must submit twice-yearly reports about its voter registration process.
Waller County has been criticized for thwarting registration efforts by students at PVAMU, a historically black college, and has faced numerous lawsuits over the last 30 years related to student voting rights.
The county also had been under investigation by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office.
The judges ordered county officials to reprocess voter registrations rejected since 2007.
Under the order, any rejected applicant who meets state elections requirements and is not registered elsewhere will be eligible to vote in the Nov. 4 general election. The county also must work with the Texas elections director to develop a voluntary deputy registrar training program and coordinate with the PVAMU president to hold twice-yearly training sessions for students.
The panel also told the county to hold voter registration drives at the campus student center.
In the spirit of the season, Black on Campus blog reminds you to learn the issues, choose your candidates, and please vote on election day.
Posted by Ajuan Mance