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Texas College Democrats

Second mobile voting locations lawsuit filed

Same claims, different plaintiffs.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin. It is led by former Austin Assistant City Manager Terrell Blodgett, Texas Young Democrats (TYD) and Texas College Democrats.

“We are here to tear down an obstacle to the right to vote,” Mike Siegel, who is representing Blodgett, said during a press conference Tuesday.

Siegel, a civil rights attorney who is running for Congress against Republican incumbent Michael McCaul, said the law “suppresses the vote of young people, of seniors, of people with disabilities” and people without access to transportation.

Blodgett, who is 96, said he has almost never missed an election – that is until HB 1888 went into effect. Because of the law, the mobile polling site at Westminster, the senior living community he lives in, was forced to close. Blodgett said he has relied on that polling location and was unable to vote because he wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t use public transportation.

“I would have had to climb on this bus and go over from the house to the library and vote because we didn’t have the facility or the voting machines there at Westminster,” he said.

When asked, Blodgett said he thinks Republicans in the Legislature passed the law for political reasons.

“I think they did it to suppress the Democratic vote,” he said.

[…]

According to the lawsuit, many young voters were unable to vote in 2019 because they lacked access to transportation.

“For example, at three different college campuses in Austin where there are TYD constituents — Huston-Tillotson University, St. Edward’s University and Austin Community College — mobile voting locations that had been available and used by TYD voters in the 2018 elections were no longer available for use in the November 2019 election,” plaintiffs say in the lawsuit.

See here for more on the other lawsuit. A copy of this lawsuit and other information can be found here. As I said before, I agree with the motivation for HB1888 and I agree with the goals of these lawsuits, but I have little to no faith that the federal judiciary, at least once you get past the district courts, will have any sympathy. And to be honest, in reading this story, I can see what the likely defense strategy will be. Mr. Blodgett doesn’t need to worry about where any voting location is, because he is eligible to vote by mail, and if he had requested a mail ballot he would not have had this problem. As for the college students, Travis County isn’t barred from having early voting locations on those campuses. They just have to keep them open throughout the early voting period. Which costs more, sure, but they could choose to budget the funds for it. Whether any of that is actually responsive to the complaints is beside the point, because I can totally see the Fifth Circuit and SCOTUS buying it. I’ll be delighted to be proven wrong. The Texas Signal has more.

TYD convention

Sadly, I am no longer young enough to be considered a “Young Democrat”. But I’m still young enough to tell you about the Texas Young Democrats convention going on this weekend in Austin. Here’s actual YD George Nasser with the details.

The Democratic youth vote in Texas went up over 300% in 2008. Want to know what this surging demographic is up to next? Catch the movers and shakers of the Texas youth movement at the Texas Young Democrats Convention in Austin this weekend.

The convention will kick off Friday night with a fundraiser for the TYD at the Thistle Cafe from 7 to 10pm. Speakers will include state senator Leticia Van De Putte and Texas Democratic Party chairman Boyd Richie. The convention itself will run from the morning of Saturday, April 18 to noon on Sunday the 19th, at St. Edwards University’s Ragsdale Center. Guest speakers for the convention will include Bill White and John Sharp, as well numerous representatives from various issue groups and the Texas Democratic Party.

Also be sure to join the Texas College Democrats following the convention for lobby training at UT at 6pm in preparation for Monday’s TCD Lobby Day.

For more information, hit up the convention web site at http://www.campaignwindow.com/tydconvention or email the Texas Young Democrats at [email protected]

So there you have it. Now get off my lawn and get yourself over to the convention already.