View Full Version : University of Texas defies TX Election Laws & Steals Campaign Sign

02-23-2010, 12:42 AM

02-23-2010, 12:56 AM

02-23-2010, 02:02 AM

AUSTIN, TX, Monday, February 22, 2010 – A University of Texas group, Students for Debra Medina, is seeking answers for a stolen campaign sign on campus outside of the Flawn Academic Center, a Travis County early voting location. Group leaders received a phone call Friday evening from Jeff Graves, a University of Texas attorney, saying that he removed the sign. The group has filed a criminal police report with UTPD and acknowledges that the situation could result in the group taking legal action against the perpetrators.

Prior to placing the sign, group leaders conferred with the Texas Secretary of State who confirmed that the University of Texas, being a public institution, could not restrict political sign placement outside of the prescribed limits of a public early voting location. The Texas Election Code section 43.031 states that, “A polling place may not be located in a building … unless electioneering is permitted on the building's premises outside the prescribed limits within which electioneering is prohibited.” Jeff Graves claim that, “[the] sign was placed in violation of the University's rules regarding placement of signs.” However, the group maintains that University’s policy does not supersede state law.

Tyler Rosen, Co-President of Students for Debra Medina, said “It is a shame that the University has resorted to infringing upon students’ right to free speech. For a University that was created to serve the people of Texas, we are left asking ourselves whose special interests it actually serves; this theft proves that it definitely isn’t those of the students. We confirmed that the placement of the campaign sign was completely legal in accordance to state law and even placed a notice on the sign citing the subsection. Debra Medina’s campaign emphasizes property rights, something that University fails to recognize.”

The campaign sign was a 4’x8’ sign advertising the Debra Medina for Texas Governor Campaign. The sign was corrugated plastic that had been reinforced with a steel supporting frame and additional horizontal members.

Tyler Rosen
Ph: 713-492-4657


UPDATE: The Secretary of State's legal team is on our side. Apparently, the University agreed to bide by the Texas Election Code when approving the FAC as an early voting location. The team cited, "unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech." Any suggestions on how to get this story out and what steps to pursue to regain possesion of our sign are appreciated!

Tyler talk to the Statesman. Call the Austin Chronicle and of course the Burnt Orange Report.