Texas State may be boxed out of new presidential debates – The Texas Tribune

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Texas State may be boxed out of new presidential debates – The Texas Tribune

Texas State was slated to be the first Texas university to host a presidential debate, with an event scheduled Sept. 16.
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WASHINGTON — Texas State University was set to be the first university in Texas to host a presidential debate, but on Wednesday the two candidates for president announced they’re going rogue.
The campaigns of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are remixing their plans for this year’s debate schedule, announcing two new debate dates hosted by CNN and ABC News. They are slated to take place on June 27 and Sept. 10.
Those debates appear to be in lieu of three previously scheduled fall debates — one of which is slated for Texas State — arranged by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which usually organizes debates after the primaries. Biden’s campaign said in a letter to the Commission that he plans not to partake in its debates.
The new Sept. 10 debate announced by the campaigns on Wednesday is scheduled less than a week before the previously scheduled Sept. 16 debate at Texas State. It’s unclear whether Texas State will still have a chance to host. The June debate, hosted by CNN, will be in Georgia.
“We are aware of the latest developments surrounding the presidential debates. We are working closely with the Commission on Presidential Debates as we assess the situation,” the university said in a statement Wednesday.
ABC News did not say if the network would consider hosting the debate at Texas State.
Texas State was expecting to spend about $5 million to host its debate. The university had appointed Jack Martin, a former chair of the Texas State University System’s Board of Regents, to head the fundraising for the debate.
While news organizations often host primary debates, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates was established in 1987 to provide a neutral forum for candidates ahead the general election. The commission said in a statement Wednesday that it had selected its dates and locations to “reach the widest television, radio and streaming audience.”
“The American public deserves substantive debates from the leading candidates for president and vice president,” the statement read. “Our 2024 sites, all locations of higher learning, are prepared to host debates on dates chosen to accommodate early voters. We will continue to be ready to execute this plan.”
The Trump and Biden campaigns had coordinated to arrange additional debate dates that would not involve the Commission, The Washington Post reported.
The two publicly agreed to the June and September dates, though Trump challenged Biden to have additional debates earlier in the cycle — in June, July, August and September — to “have maximum exposure to the records and future visions of each candidate,” according to a memo released by the Trump campaign.
In its letter to the commission, the Biden campaign said the commission’s debate format was no longer up to date with current voting trends, taking place after early voting began in many states. It also said the commission failed to enforce its own rules in the 2020 debates.
Texas voters may be able to participate in the following elections:
May 4 elections for many local elected offices and bond propositions that are not part of county government. The voter registration deadline is April 4.
May 28 primary runoffs for elected offices in which no candidate won more than half of the votes during the March Republican and Democratic primaries. The voter registration deadline is April 29.
Nov. 5 general elections for many state, federal and county offices. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 7.

Cellphones, cameras, computers and other devices that can record sound or images cannot be used within 100 feet of voting stations (where ballots are marked). There are usually traffic cones or signs indicating this. Campaigning, including wearing clothing or other items that publicize candidates, political parties or measures on the ballot, is also banned beyond this point. Voters are allowed to use written notes to cast their ballot at the discretion of election officers, who may determine if the material counts as campaigning. Firearms, including handguns, are also prohibited at polling places, according to Texas law.
Voters have the right to:
– cast a provisional ballot if they are registered but their name does not appear on the list of registered voters because of an administrative issue
– get written instructions about how to cast a ballot or to ask a polling place officer or worker (but not about who or what to vote for)
use up to two additional ballots to make corrections if a voter makes a mistake while marking their ballot
– generally cast their ballots in secret and should not be subject to intimidation
– get interpretation, assistance or accommodations to vote if they have a disability or limited English proficiency
vote during work hours without being penalized or losing pay (this may not apply if a worker has two hours before or after work to go vote)
– cast their ballot as long as they’re in line by 7 p.m. on Election Day
A state law passed in 2023 also allows voters with disabilities or mobility problems to skip the line at their polling location and requires each polling location to have a designated parking spot for curbside voting.

If you have contracted COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms, consider requesting an emergency early voting ballot or using curbside voting.
Emergency ballot: These ballots can be requested if you become sick or disabled close to an election and are unable to go to a polling place on Election Day. To qualify, you must designate a representative to submit an application in person on your behalf and have a certified doctor’s note. The application must be received by your county’s early voting clerk before 5 p.m. on Election Day.
Your ballot must be returned by the same designated representative before 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. Contact your county elections office for more details about an emergency early-voting ballot due to sickness or disability.
Curbside voting: You can also contact your county elections office to determine if you’re eligible for curbside voting, which must be made available at every polling place for voters with disabilities unable to enter a polling location.

At the polls, voters can talk to election officers or poll workers if they run into issues. The secretary of state’s office has a helpline at 1-800-252-VOTE (8683) to reach state attorneys available to assist voters and election officials with questions. A coalition of voting rights groups runs voter protection hotlines in several languages. Disability Rights Texas also offers a helpline for people with disabilities.
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