Local County Denies Funding Rides to Polls

Tarrant County courthouse | Image by Jacqueline F Cooper/Shutterstock

Tarrant County Commissioners voted on Wednesday to not continue taxpayer funding for Trinity Metro’s program that provides free rides to polling places.

Trinity Metro was asking for the county to pay $10,000, half of the cost of providing the free transport, reported the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The 3-2 vote ended the partnership between the county and Trinity Metro that has been in place since 2019. The county did not provide funding during each year of the partnership.

County Judge Tim O’Hare said, “I don’t believe it’s the county government’s responsibility to try to get more people out to the polls. That is not the responsibility of county governments. It’s not the responsibility of taxpayers, which is where all our money comes from,” reported the Star-Telegram.

O’Hare claimed that providing funds to transport citizens to the polls would be a violation of federal law, as it amounts to paying people to vote, according to the Star-Telegram.

He also noted, “The other issue is, this is only for a small section of the county. I don’t think taxpayers across the entire county want to pay for a small segment of the population to go get on a bus to vote,” per the Star-Telegram.

Commissioner Roy Brooks, who voted in favor of providing taxpayer funding for the free rides to the polls, said, “We have a responsibility to make it easy for people to vote.” Brooks argued that the black community, even after being given the right to vote, has had people and groups make it “plain that voting was something that was not for you.”

Commissioner Manny Ramirez, who voted against the funding, told the Star-Telegram that he had done so because many of his constituents would not benefit from it. “My citizens in Azle, Saginaw, Blue Mound, Samson Park, they’re not getting the benefit that everyone in Tarrant County would have been paying for. … I don’t think Tarrant County taxpayer dollars should be utilized when not every Tarrant County taxpayer or citizen is benefiting.”

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