The Prairie View Chapter of the NAACP is the lead plaintiff in a second lawsuit filed against Prairie View, Texas officials who reduced the hours of operation and cut the days of early voting in the upcoming March 9th primary election. The lawsuit seeks to prevent officials in Waller County from implementing the voting revision before receiving pre-clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Chapter is on the campus of Prairie View A&M University, a historically black institution, 48 miles northwest of Houston. This suit to keep the only polling place in Prairie View open for two days from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., comes just weeks after the college chapter sued the Waller County district attorney for threatening to prosecute students if they registered to vote.
Less than 15 days before it was scheduled to begin, county officials agreed to reduce the early voting period from two days to one, and limit the hours of operation to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This change would directly impact the students' opportunities to participate in the upcoming primary election, as they have midterm examinations March 4-6 and then leave school for spring break.
NAACP President and CEO, Kweisi Mfume, said: "The Waller County officials who are trying to block Prairie View University students from voting are setting a sad example for young people who are the future of this great Democracy. The students understand the importance of voting, and they are to be applauded for trying to exercise their right to vote."
County officials acknowledged their decision to reduce early voting would save only $196. The Kemp, Smith & Coleman Community Center is the only polling place in Prairie View, and it ranked second in the county for early voter turnout in the 2000 primary election.
The Prairie View College Chapter is represented by attorneys from the Houston office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges and joined by representatives from the NAACP, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU and People for the American Way.
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