No private high schools and just 14 percent of public high schools in Texas requested voter registration forms for their students from the Secretary of State, according to a report released Wednesday by the Texas Civil Rights Project. The organization as well as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law found that 198 out of 1,428 public high schools requested the forms. In total, the organizations said, six percent of high schools in Texas requested forms. Schools can receive the forms from other organizations, such as the county, but the Texas Civil Rights Project argued during a press conference Wednesday that the state’s low youth voter registration and turnout rates prove that’s not effective even if that’s the case.
The law, enacted in 1985, requires every high school in the state to distribute voter registration applications to eligible sudents at least twice a school year.
“This unique law should make Texas a leader in youth voter registration and turnout,” said Beth Stevens, voting rights director for the TCRP. “But that’s not the reality.”
Organization leaders called Wednesday for Secretary of State Rolando Pablos to discontinue his “ineffective and wholly unnecessary” request process, which they said was the “critical flaw” of the program, and send the forms to all schools.