News Roundup: After Prairie View A&M, Texas State Is Second University To Allege Voter Suppression

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartOctober 26, 2018 1:35 pm|

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Just days after a lawsuit was filed on behalf of students at Prairie View A&M University alleging voter suppression over lack of early voting opportunities, another Texas university is complaining of similar problems.

Students at Texas State University had only three days of on-campus early voting. Due to higher-than-normal turnout, students saw wait times up to an hour-and-a-half at campus polling locations during those three days. In comparison, many polling places are open for two weeks.

Students and voting-rights advocates say that amounts to voter suppression.

The Texas Civil Rights Project sent a letter to Hayes County Thursday evening, demanding that it reopen on-campus early voting locations, plus add an Election Day polling place, or face a lawsuit.

The organization says that limiting early voting on campus violates the U.S Constitution because it targets a specific class of voters.

In an email sent to Hays County Republican Women on Wednesday,Wally Kinney of the North Hays Republican Group called on the group to ask the county commissioner not to extend voting for students, saying, “If we are to change the rules in the middle of the game, it favors Democrats, and we sure don’t want to do that.”

In a follow-up interview with Austin ABC affiliate KVUE news, Kinney dismissed allegations of voter suppression.

“Well, to say there’s voter suppression that some of the candidates have said, that’s just delusional,” Kinney said.

The letter from the Texas Civil Rights Project requests a response from county officials by 12 p.m. Friday.

 




New data show Harris County has had more immigration-related community arrests than any other county in Texas, and has the fourth-highest number nationwide.

Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall has more:

Over an eight-month period, immigration authorities picked up and arrested 835 people throughout the county. Only three other counties nationwide had more community arrests.

Researcher Susan Long: “When it comes to community arrests, that is arrests where ICE picks up someone who is living or working in the community.”

Syracuse University data show arrests happened between October 2017 and May 2018. In that same period, Harris County also had the most law enforcement-related ICE arrests in the country: over 6,000 immigrants were turned over to immigration authorities after they had been in the custody of local police.

Those arrests spring from a range of charges, from traffic violations to assault.




A former aide to U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar says that she was fired from her job for being pregnant – a violation of federal law.

Kristie Small says that when she met with the Laredo Democrat to discuss maternity leave, he put her on a 90-day “probationary period.” Small says that Cuellar set performance markers and claimed she didn’t meet them.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act says a woman “cannot be fired, rejected for a job or promotion, given lesser assignments or forced to take leave” because of her pregnancy.

Small has filed a complaint with the United States Congress Office of Compliance.