Texas Secretary of State John Steen briefly visited the university while attending an election education event in Abilene.
While on campus he attended Chapel, ate lunch with President Phil Schubert and toured the AT&T Learning Studio.
Steen said Alicia Pierce (’02), communications director for the Office of the Secretary of State, inspired his visit. He said she is a “very proud graduate of ACU.” He said he heard many good things about the university from her and he wanted to come see for himself.
“We are in town for an election event and then we’re going to Dyess this afternoon, so it seemed like a perfect time to fit that in,” Pierce said.
Steen said his position as Secretary of State is “multifaceted,” so when he travels around the state he tries to do different things that relate to different aspects of the job. He said the agenda for the day concentrated on the elections aspect.
“So this morning, we met with the elections administrator, Kristi Allyn, for Taylor County,” he said. “One thing I was doing was thanking her for the wonderful job she does, but secondly, we were talking about voter photo ID that’s now the law in Texas. We’re all working together to try to get the word out.”
On June 25, Steen announced photo identification will now be required for voters in all Texas elections. There are six acceptable forms of ID, including a Texas driver license, a Texas Election Identification Certificate and United States passports. College student IDs do not qualify.
Steen said anyone unsure about their voter registration status can go to www.votetexas.gov, where they can also find more information about the photo ID law.
“It’s just important to participate in the democratic process,” he said. “One of the reasons I like to visit college campus is just to encourage young people to register to vote.”
The first state-wide election under the new voter I.D. law will take place Nov. 5.
After his campus visit, Steen headed to Dyess Air Force Base to talk about military voting.
Steen was a guest of the Department of Political Science.
Dr. Neal Coates, chair of the Department of Political Science, said Dr. Stuart Platt, recently hired professor and former inspector general of the Texas Department of Public Safety, regularly interacted with Steen when they worked with DPS. Coates said Steen’s wish to visit Platt inspired his trip to campus.
Coates said the visit offered Steen the chance to learn more about ACU.
He said Steen “very much appreciated” Chapel and was impressed with students’ use of technology in the Learning Studio.