Young Democrats sue Texas over voting rights

by | Nov 26, 2019 | Policy, Voting

On Tuesday, former Austin Assistant City Manager Terrell Blodgett, the  Texas College Democrats, and the Texas Young Democrats filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State over the state ending the use of mobile polling locations.

This is the second lawsuit filed against HB 1888, with the Texas Democratic Party, along with the Democratic Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees, suing the state last month.

The lawsuit is a response to Texas House Bill 1888, which requires voting sites to remain open for all 12 days of early voting. HB 1888 was broadly written in a way that effectively ended the long-standing practice of moving polling places around during early voting to reach as many voters as possible. Blodgett, who is 96 years old, said he almost never missed an election until HB 1888 prevented him from voting. 

Blodgett is represented by Mike Siegel, a civil rights attorney who is also running against Republican Congressman Michael McCaul. Siegel said that HB 1888  “suppresses the vote of young people, of seniors, of people with disabilities.” The lawsuit claims this is a violation of the First, Fourteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments of the Constitution.

The Texas Young Democrats and Texas College Democrats are particularly concerned about the effect the new law has on young voters, as many of the mobile polling places that closed were on or near college campuses. “The impact of this reduction in early voting locations will almost certainly fall disproportionately on young voters, who already suffer from limited automobile access compared to the general population,” read the lawsuit. 

Young people are more likely to vote for Democrats, with 71 percent of voters under the age of 30 casting their ballot for Beto O’Rourke in 2018. Furthermore, youth voter turnout tripled in Texas last year, compared to the previous midterm election. The number of young  voters is also increasing in absolute terms, with people under 25 making up a large chunk of the 2.6 million new voters that have registered in Texas since the 2016 election.

This story has been updated.

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

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