Dallas Commissioners register complaints over student voter drive




Posted on September 25, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 25 at 6:19 PM

DALLAS — Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day. In Dallas County, it was billed as a non-partisan effort to help get public school students to the polls.

Instead, it turned into a game of political football that played out in Dallas County Commissioners Court.

National Voter Registration Day was carried out in 60 Dallas County public schools on Tuesday, with the goal of providing a politically neutral atmosphere for 18-year-olds to register to vote.

Over at Dallas County Commissioners Court, things were not as neutral.

Dallas County Commissioner Mike Cantrell, a Republican, fumed over the Dallas County Elections Department local orchestration of National Voter Registration Day.

"It's not the issue of registering voters, it's the appearance of our elections department advocating for a partisan group,” Cantrell said. “That's what I'm trying to point out. We don't need to be there."

As News 8 reported last week, the non-profit group behind the registration drive is stacked with Democratic partners whose logo is curiously similar to that of President Obama's re-election icon.

Cantrell and other county Republican leaders are upset the registration drive mostly targets inner-city schools. Their anger is aimed directly at Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole, who said she was invited to participate by the non-partisan League of Women Voters.

The three Commissioners Court Democrats rushed to the elections the defense of Pippins-Poole.

Commissioners Elba Garcia and John Wiley Price were both vocal in their reminder of the fact that Dallas County has the lowest voter registration rate in the state.

No information has been released word on how successful the drive was, but County Judge Clay Jenkins pledges any similar future efforts will be better and more inclusive.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com