Leander ISD high schools among the 6 percent that follow voter registration forms law

Report: Most Texas high schools not requesting voter registration forms
Principals of Texas high schools have enough on their plates, and asking the state for voter registration forms should not be another responsibility, according to a statewide voice for high school principals.

In September the Texas Civil Rights Project, a legal advocacy organization, released a report that found most high schools in the state are not complying with a more than 30-year-old law that requires principals to request voter registration forms for eligible students at least twice a year.

“It’s not that principals aren’t civic-minded,” said Archie McAfee, executive director of the Texas Association of Secondary Principals, which advocates for school administrators. “They’re saddled with graduation rates, dropout rates, test scores, school safety and all those things.”

Acquiring forms
Over the course of four years the TCRP found that about 6 percent of public and private schools complied with the state law.

In 2016, 198 out of 1,428 public high schools in Texas requested voter registration applications from the secretary of state, and none of the nearly 1,800 private high schools in Texas requested applications.

Five of Leander ISD’s high schools were included in the 6 percent of public and private schools to comply with the state law. According to data from the TCRP, the district requested 2,280 forms in 2016 to distribute to eligible students among Cedar Park, New Hope, Rouse, Vandegrift and Vista Ridge high schools. Tom Glenn High School opened in fall 2016 for ninth and tenth graders only.

According to LISD, a social studies curriculum coordinator requests the forms for the year, which are sent directly to each campus’s government and economics teachers to distribute to eligible students. The campuses also sent out reminders to register for both the fall and spring election dates.
“We take great pride in our Leander ISD high schools for preparing students not only for college and career, but also for citizenship,” LISD spokesperson Corey Ryan said. “We look forward to continuing to work with our social studies teachers, principals and students in supporting the American democratic process.”

Requesting a change
According to the September report the TCRP has asked the secretary of state office to change the procedure over the years.

“Because the evidence could not be more clear that the overwhelming majority of high school principals, consumed with the education of young Texans, simply never request forms, we suggested that the SOS scrap that request process and affirmatively mail forms to high schools instead,” TCRP officials wrote in the report.

In a news release Sept. 15, Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said he is working with his team to examine his office’s internal policies and procedures.

“The secretary’s objective is to identify and remove administrative burdens to ensure voter registration education materials are delivered in a timely manner and without needless requirements or outdated procedures,” the release stated.

For McAfee, there are more pressing matters principals—and the media—should be focusing on, including graduation rates and dropout rates.

He said the responsibility for educating students about voter registration should fall on parents, not the schools.

“I learned my civic responsibility in voting from my parents,” he said. “They didn’t tell me this was important. They showed me it was important [by voting].”


MOST RECENT

The amended version of the planned development unit will now go to the Austin Planning Commission for review. (Rendering courtesy Austin Environmental Commission)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Austin commission OKs development plan near Lady Bird Lake; shopping center coming to Porter and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 15.

The Smoking Joint is now open under the umbrella of Click Click Chew virtual food hall in Cypress. (Courtesy Kirsten Gilliam)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: More restaurant, retail space could be coming to north Frisco development; Locatelli’s owners launch virtual food hall in Cypress, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 14.

The Lash Lounge opened a Cedar Park location Oct 12 in the 1890 Ranch Shopping Center. (Courtesy The Lash Lounge)
The Lash Lounge now open in Cedar Park

The studio offers four types of eyelash extensions, eyelash lifts, eyelash tinting, brow tinting, brow threading and microblading.

A rendering is shown of a flexible space inside Panther Creek High School, which includes learning stairs and a collaboration board. The school's attendance zones are drawn to pull from Lone Star and Memorial high schools. (Courtesy Corgan)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Frisco ISD proposes attendance zone modifications; concerns are voiced over Grogan's Mill Village Center vacancies, plus more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 13.

Grand Donuts is opening soon in Georgetown. (Brittany Andes/Community Impact Newspaper)
Grand Donuts coming to Georgetown; new businesses open in Central Austin and more area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Passengers wait in a security checkpoint line at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The three existing checkpoints would receive machine upgrades but would remain largely unchanged. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport moves one step closer to adding fourth security checkpoint at main terminal

The airport had its fourth busiest day ever on Oct. 8, which officials attribute in part to the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the University of Texas versus the University of Oklahoma football game.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Oct. 11 signed an executive order banning all COVID-19 vaccine mandates (Courtesy Office of the Governor)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Gov. Abbott signs order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates; Frisco businesses seek to solve area workforce shortage, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 12.

Black Sugar Caffe is expecting a soft opening Oct. 14. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coffee shop to open in Round Rock Oct. 14; New Braunfels airport changes name and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

The $772.2 million bond includes projects such as new school construction, technology updates and aging school improvements. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Voters to consider $772M Leander ISD bond in November election

Bond projects include new school construction, technology updates and aging school improvements.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Oct. 11 signed an executive order banning all COVID-19 vaccine mandates (Courtesy Office of the Governor)
Gov. Abbott signs executive order banning all COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Citing the Biden administration’s recent vaccine mandates, the governor signed an order on Oct. 11 preventing any entity from mandating a vaccine.

The CAMPO models revealed a 1% difference between 2020 U.S. Census data and the agency’s projections. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Central Texas transportation organization stacks its population projections up against U.S. Census data

CAMPO’s projections play an important role in deciding which regional transportation projects will be prioritized.