Prairie View
Annie Laurie Evans Hall at Prairie View A&M University (Credit: Mustangsally/Wikimedia Commons)


Another claim of voter suppression in the south has surfaced, but this time a group of HBCU students are fighting back.

NBC News reports several Prairie View A&M University students allege that Waller County election officials in Houston have violated the civil rights of blacks and limited early voting efforts.

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The five students filed a lawsuit in federal court in Houston Oct. 22 against the county, charging that early voting locations have been limited or not accessible for the predominantly African American county residents. They claim that were no early voting locations on or near the school’s campus during the first week, which began on that day.

The county does plan to open up early voting facilities during the second week. However two of those locations, they contend, are off-campus which could be a hinderance to students who don’t have transportation, the lawsuit asserts.

County Problems

The historically black Prairie View outside Houston has about 8,400 full and part-time students. According to reports, the area represents a significant voting population in Waller County.

“Since at least the early 1970s, Waller County has consistently tried to limit the political power of black voters in the city of Prairie View and at Prairie View A&M specifically by undermining their right to vote,” said Leah Aden, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund deputy director of litigation. The NAACP filed the lawsuit on behalf of the students.

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According to reports the majority-white city of Waller offered 11 days of early voting. The county’s failure to have parity, violates the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, the group says.

The group wants early voting hours opportunities extended on the Prairie View campus.

This scenario is similar to what Georgia is experiencing.

As Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp runs for governor, there is a pressing problem in the state because he is blocking 53,000 voter registrations. Some 70% of those are Black voters and many claim it’s a blatant attempt to ensure that Democratic candidate, Stacey Abrams, doesn’t become the first Black woman governor in the country.

Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, along with Waller County officials and the heads of the county’s Democratic and Republican parties said that no students will be “impeded, hampered, or otherwise delayed” in voting.