IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Texas Republican seeks a ban on polling places at schools in the name of 'school safety'

Citing "heightened emotions" at polling sites, a Texas legislator says voting is too dangerous to do on school campuses.
Dallas County election worker Maxx Nuñez helps Democrat Jamie Wilson cast his ballot in the Super Tuesday primary at John H. Reagan Elementary School in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
Dallas County election worker Maxx Nuñez, left, helps a voter cast his ballot at John H. Reagan Elementary School in Dallas on March 3, 2020.LM Otero / AP file

Texas state Rep. Carrie Isaac wants to keep democracy out of Texas schools.

Isaac, a freshman Republican, filed a 124-word bill to bar polling places at any “institution of higher education” last week, and on Tuesday, she said she’s working on a bill to bar polling places at K-12 public and charter schools, too.

“We must do everything we can to make our school campuses as safe as possible,” she said in a release, mentioning the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde last year and a deadly knife attack at a university in 2017. “I have experienced firsthand the heightened emotions that often occur at polling locations and I will not wait for more violence to act.”

Neither incident had anything to do with voting.

Democrats have advocated for legislation to mandate polling sites on larger college campuses in the current legislative session.

MOVE Texas, a group that mobilizes young voters, condemned the bill in a statement as “one of the most insidious attempts to silence young voters.”

Universities and schools are common polling places because they’re big enough to accommodate large numbers of voters and are well-known in the community, said James Slattery, the senior supervising legislative attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project, which advocates for voting rights and criminal justice reform.

“It’s ludicrous to me to say that democracy and voting is somehow more dangerous to young people than the fact that the state is awash in guns everywhere,” he added.

While elections rules and voting have been top targets for Texas Republicans in the past, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — who controls the agenda for the first two months of the legislative session — called on legislators to focus on bills relating to issues including school safety, the border and property taxes.