Delayed primary forces students to adjust voting plans

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    Many college students across the state, including TCU students, will have to adjust their voting plans because of the delayed Texas Republican primary.

    A February federal court decision delayed the Texas Republican primary from April 3 to May 29 after a long contentious battle over minority representation in several newly drawn congressional districts.

    Many Texans are upset about the legislative map that greatly underrepresented minorities and how the nearly two month delay will affect who may be able to vote .

    “I think the Texas Legislature did Texas voters a great disservice in gerrymandering the district lines in order to disenfranchise minorities,” says Jack Enright, the founder and president of TCU’s libertarian group Young Americans for Liberty.

    “It should have never been allowed to get to this point,” says Michael Millican, sophomore member of Young Americans for Liberty.  He said he blamed “partisan politics” for the debate.

    The new primary date affects TCU out-of-state students who would have voted in the Texas primary April 3, but will be back in their home states by the time of the rescheduled Texas primary.

    Voters in 23 states and 5 territories cast their ballots between the court’s decision in mid-February and early April.

    Whether or not students can vote depends on where they are registered and when that state’s primary is scheduled.

    “If they're registered in another state that's already had their primary and they didn't vote in that one,” Enright said, “there's not much they can do.”

    However, students registered in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia can still vote in their home state primaries if they want to. These states are holding their primaries before the end of the semester.

    “If students live outside of Texas and haven't already voted then I recommend they register absentee,” Millican said. He absentee voted in Alabama’s primary in March.

    Absentee voting requirements vary state by state. Absentee voting is only available by meeting state requirements and if one is outside the state they are registered in the day of the primary.

    The federal court decision also may have impacted the Republican primary.  With Texas opinion polls in favor of Rick Santorum in previous months, a potential Santorum victory in early April may have lengthened the primary.

    Even with Santorum withdrawing from the race, the Texas primary could have important consequences because of the 155 delegates at stake on May 29.

    “The upcoming primary will help determine if Romney gets to 1144 [delegates],” Millican said.

    Enright said he thought a lot of it hinges on whether it becomes a winner-take-all primary.

    Texas is the only state with its primary on May 29. Six states have their primaries after Texas, with the Republican primary process officially concluding with the Utah Primary on June 26.