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  • Writer's picturecatherinehwicker

Why HB 2390 Hurts New Texas Voters

In 2018, as I stood in line waiting down a flight of stairs from the polling location I knew that was my only option. I was unable to physically drive at this time and having access to the polling location that was on my university campus; where I worked, studied and two blocks from where I lived meant I could exercise my right as a citizen. As a young adult and new voter this was very important to me to vote in every election. This four hour line however meant that I was standing for hours and hoping that I did not need to use the bathroom for my ulcerative colitis. The fears were picking up in my head as I waited longer and longer. The time was 7PM and if I got out of line would I be allowed to get back into the line to vote or would I be embarrassed having an accident.

The bill by Representative Isaac HB 2390, is dangerous for students. It is dangerous to take away access to the ballot boxes from a vulnerable community. It cuts thousands of potential and low propensity voters from their access to the polls. I would have been one of the citizens that would have been cut off by the voter suppression that would take place. Without access to the polling location, I would have had to make the decision: do I pay for an Uber or do I not get to vote.

A lack of ballot access does not protect the students from potential threats. It also reduces conversations around voting and civics. In my grad research Texas Students are not looking for partisan resources they want information from mentors, peers, professors that are non partisan. Having a polling location strengthens the work of the campus around civics. In 2020 in the middle of the pandemic we had a full time polling location, drive up voter registration and civic dialogues with students from different political backgrounds. While the higher education act SEC. 487. [20 U.S.C. 1094] requires the university to put in good faith for telling a student they can register to vote at their university address; it does not say how. With the Voter Friendly Campus and the polling location not only did it increase civics on campus it allowed for a culture shift that allowed faculty and students to engage together in important dialogue. This is the intention of higher education and if we want our Texas Students to engage long term civically, then we must continue access to the polls.

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Mar 14, 2023

Well stated, Catherine! Carry on!!

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