This article was found on Yahoo.com via The Nation
Young Texans March for Voting Rights
The Nation — While the nation’s eyes may have been on Hawaii and Wisconsin on Tuesday, it was also the first day of early voting in Texas, and voting rights came to the fore in a rural county outside of Houston.
More than 1,000 mostly African-American students from Prairie View A&M, a historically black university, marched 7.3 miles to the nearest polling place, wearing shirts declaring “It is 2008. We will vote!” The students, joined by faculty and community members, were protesting the county’s refusal to open an polling place on or near the campus, which they feel is part of pattern of the county impeding students’ right to vote.
This year, Waller county officials announced they would have only one polling place open for early voting. Thanks to pressure from student organizations such as Black Youth Vote! Texas and other community groups, the Department of Justice stepped in to question the decision. The same day that the march was announced, Waller county officials agreed to open three others polling places, but they won’t be open until later this week.
Waller County, where Prairie View is located, has a history of controversy over voting rights, particularly surrounding the university. In a mostly white, conservative county, Prairie View students represent a sizeable minority demographic. In 2004, students organized a similar march when many of them were declared ineligible to vote based on residency status. According to the Houston Chronicle, the county is still under investigation by the Texas Attorney General for the 2006 election, when black community leaders complained of faulty machines and inadequate staffing of polling places, and hundreds of students’ names being missing from election rosters.
Tuesday’s march was, according to those who went, a testament to the power of youth organizing and action. Andre Evans, president of the Prairie View Student Government Association, said it best: “It’s time for students to be more proactive and aggressive in obtaining our rights…Our problem is that we have not had county leaders in office who care about the needs or concerns of students. We’re going to vote on Tuesday, and in the future, we will vote to get some of those people out of office.”
This story is very inspirational. I am glad to hear that people are very excited about voting and are willing to walk over 7 miles to their polling station. I hope the county officials will stop disenfranchising voters.
Check out a video of the students marching to voting place on the highway.
Way to go Prairie View!!