Several Texas school districts allegedly have plans to violate a voter-targeting law passed during the 84th legislative session (HB 2027), by engaging in the nefarious tactic of “rolling polling” this November.
“Rolling polling” is a voter-targeting scheme whereby local governments strategically choose convenient polling locations for their employees and local supporters, and then quickly move those locations throughout early voting to confuse the general voting public.
Members of the Frisco Tea Party, who meticulously tracked voter turnout data in November of 2014, concisely demonstrated just how effective the now illegal practice could be in influencing the election’s outcome.
During early voting where Frisco ISD employed “rolling polling,” the measure was supported with 81% of the vote, with only 19% opposed. On Election Day, only 55% of voters supported the measure, with 45% opposed.
FISD’s targeting tactics were especially egregious, using forty-nine school campuses over the eight-day early voting period, all of which were open for only one day.
In November’s upcoming election this year, Highland Park ISD plans to target voters in support of their $361 million bond proposal by parking a mobile unit outside the stadium during their next two football games. According to Dallas County election resources, Grand Prairie ISD also plans to target likely supporters in potential violation of the law.
If Highland Park’s debt deal passes as proposed, their debt at today’s student enrollment will exceed $90,000 per child, when principal and interest payments are included.
Interest expense typically amounts to a 30-40% premium over and above the price tag voters see on the ballot. In other words, although voters will only see a $361,000,000 proposition on the ballot, the cost repaid through higher property taxes is projected to equal $500 million, or more.
Part of HPISD’s all-or-nothing plan is to demolish and rebuild three schools they spent $25,000,000 dramatically renovating just eight years ago. The rest of the proposal calls for the destruction of other facilities they claim need to be moved to allow for expansion at the high school.
Regardless of the pros and cons of any single debt proposal, Texas taxpayers should demand that local governments follow the law.
In the case of Highland Park ISD, their proposed voter-targeting strategy has opened themselves up to potential lawsuits, should local taxpayers with legal standing choose to take action.