Five students from Texas’ Prairie View A&M University sued Waller County on Monday accusing it of voter suppressive tactics aimed at its Black residents, according to the Texas Tribune.
The students allege that the county has violated the federal Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution because there are no early voting locations on the campus and in Prairie View citing that its decision “imposes a substantial and unwarranted burden” negatively impacts student voters.
The suit also claims that student voters are denied “an equal opportunity to vote” compared to non-black voters in Waller County.
“There is no legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for defendants to deny opportunities for early voting during the first week to plaintiffs and black voters in Prairie View on an equal basis with other non-black voters of the Waller County,” reads the lawsuit, per the Tribune.
The students are being represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and have asked a federal judge to make the county set up early voting sites that are open on the weekends, writes the Tribune.
The city of Waller, which is predominately White and has half of the eligible voting-age population, will have two early voting locations during the first week and will be open on Saturday, per reports. Another site will be open for the second week of early voting.
Prairie View is a predominately Black area, but will have only five days of early voting during the second week, the plaintiffs allege. The students added that two of those days will be in an area off-campus that they say is hard for students to get to if they don’t have proper transportation.
In 2013, students at the school, which is the oldest historically black university in Texas, were allowed to vote at a polling site on campus for the first time.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.