Texas ruling backs college student voting

Feb. 4, 2004 at 5:13 PM
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FORT WORTH, Texas, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled Wednesday students at Prairie View A&M University who want to register and vote there must be allowed to do so.

Abbott said students at the predominately black school only have to show they consider Waller County their legal residence and they intend to vote there, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Waller County Attorney Oliver Kitzman, who is white, contended in a letter Nov. 5 Prairie View students don't necessarily qualify to vote. His action prompted protest marches and a federal investigation.

"College students cannot be targeted for discriminatory residency requirements, and nothing prevents them from voting where they attend school," Abbott told reporters.

Kitzman said he wanted to hear from Abbott before reconsidering his decision.

The attorney general's opinion was requested by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, who said the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 25 years ago students who attend the school northwest of Houston have the same rights as any other voters.

"It is unfortunate that the Waller County district attorney has not followed the Supreme Court ruling and has attempted block college students at Prairie View A&M University from registering to vote," he said.

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