Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri
Republicans’ relationship with young voters is complicated at best. So when presented with the opportunity to express bi-partisan support in increasing student voter turnout at the polls, it should come to no one’s surprise Republicans declined to support such a measure.
This week, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri passed on the opportunity to co-sign a letter with Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa issued to Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry, regarding helping eligible students participate in their democracy by voting.
It probably also doesn’t help much that Texas Republicans’ discriminatory voter ID law — meant to suppress low income, minority, elder and young voters — is currently on trial now.
The following is a press statement by Texas Democrats regarding Republicans’ disregard of student voters:
Austin, TX – Earlier this week, Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party Gilberto Hinojosa sent a letter to the Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri asking him to co-sign a letter to Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry regarding election code Sec. 13.046.
At yesterday’s Trib Live event hosted by the Texas Tribune, Republican Chairman Munisteri agreed that informing educators of the need to register eligible students is an important issue, while on camera, but afterwards refused to co-sign a letter to the secretary of state.
Section 13.046 of the Texas Election Code states that a principal or designee of a public or private school shall serve as a deputy registrar and distribute and receive registration applications forms from students and employees of the school. The provision also states that the secretary of state shall prescribe any additional procedures necessary to implement this. [Texas Constitution and Statutes]
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa released the following statement:
“All Texans agree that schools should do everything in their power to encourage eligible students to participate in their democracy and vote. Chairman Munisteri and I do as well. However, actions speak louder than words, unfortunately, despite his public support for the substance of my proposed letter, the Republican chair refuses to sign.
“This letter was about putting partisanship aside and increasing voter turnout for the sake of Texas. I’m disappointed Republicans will not join us, but the Texas Democratic Party will continue to protect the vote and encourage young Texans to exercise their right to be heard.”
Republicans may not care a whole lot about student voters now… but they will soon enough.
A significant majority of the Republican voting base consists of older, white Texan voters — voters that hold much more conservative views than their younger voter counterparts. By neglecting young voters and their views, Republicans have literally taken their eyes off the future. While their strategy to focus on only just this election, and totally disregard future demographics, may work this time — without young voters, without women voters, without minority voters… the road Texas Republicans have chosen is simply not sustainable for future victories. Whatever wins Texas Republicans acquire this election will be their last hurrah.
Follow Omar on Twitter at @AraizaTX.