Nearly a year and half has passed since Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott launched an investigation into allegations of voting rights violations of Prairie View A&M students in Waller County.
The lengthy investigation has left some students at the historically black university wondering why so much time has passed without a resolution. Others expressed a more patient stance, saying it is prudent for the state to do a thorough job.
“Something should have been done by now,” said student Ashley Slayton. “I don’t know think there is a logical explanation for why there hasn’t been anything done.”
The Attorney General’s Office says the investigation is continuing but there is no word on how it is going or when it might end.
“I can’t have any further comment at all,” said attorney general spokesman Tom Kelley.
The investigation began in December 2006 when allegations were made that about 300 students had to cast provisional ballots when their names were not on voting lists. Local black leaders also contended that more than 1,000 voter-registration forms may not have been processed by Waller County officials.
The controversy surrounding the election and the subsequent investigation is not the first time voting and race have been an issue in Waller County.
In November 2003 former Waller County District Attorney Oliver Kitzman wrote a letter to the county elections administrator saying students from Prairie View did not necessarily qualify to vote locally.
But Abbott later ruled Prairie View students do have the legal right to vote locally. He said the students have to show only that they consider Waller County their legal residence.
In the latest incident, the Waller County Leadership Council filed a complaint with Abbott’s office in December 2006, saying the voting rights of Prairie View students were violated during the November election of that year.
Waller County Justice of the Peace DeWayne Charleston, who has been an advocate for black voting rights, said he is not upset the probe has taken so long and has confidence in the investigators.
“In all fairness, I think that Attorney General Abbott has satisfied me and that he has done what he can do to protect the integrity of the voting process in Waller County,” Charleston said.
But he added: “I would probably be somewhat disappointed if they came back after taking a year or so with something to the effect that they found nothing.”
It depends. Are there Democrats he can arrest? If not, don’t hold your breath, that’s all I’m saying.