Waller County, Texas, Ends Effort to Deny Voting Rights to Black College Students

Waller County, Texas, has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. The county has been engaged in a long-running battle with students at predominantly black Prairie View A&M University over voter registration. The county had resisted efforts by college students to register to vote in the county despite federal court rulings permitting them to do so. When the county relented and allowed the black students to register, it refused to locate a registration office near the Prairie View campus, forcing students who wanted to register to travel 10 miles to the registrar’s office. The county is required under the Voting Rights Act to obtain Justice Department approval for any change in voting law or procedures.

Under the new agreement the county has agreed to offer voter registration on the Prairie View campus and to reprocess registration forms from students that previously had been rejected.