Hot on the heels of North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s unprecedented move to establish the most oppressive voting measures in the country, local GOP-controlled election boards in the state’s two major college towns, have proposed sweeping changes that would establish obstacles to student voting and participation in elections.
From The State:
The Watauga County Board of Elections voted Monday to eliminate an early voting site and election-day polling precinct on the campus of Appalachian State University.
The Pasquotank County Board of Elections on Tuesday barred an Elizabeth City State University senior from running for city council, ruling his on-campus address couldn’t be used to establish local residency. Following the decision, the head of the county’s Republican Party said he plans to challenge the voter registrations of more students at the historically black university ahead of upcoming elections.
In a contentious meeting Monday, the new GOP majority on the Watauga elections board voted over the objection of the board’s lone Democrat to eliminate early voting at the Appalachian State student union.
The Watauga board also voted 2-1 Monday to combine the three Boone voting precincts into one, eliminating an election day polling site on campus. More than 9,300 Boone residents will now be slated to cast ballots at a county building that only has about 35 parking spots.
In the Pasquotank case, county GOP chairman Pete Gilbert challenged the residency of Montravias King, an Elizabeth City State senior who has been registered to vote in the county since coming to the college in 2009. King says he plans to stay after he graduates in May. King, who lives in an on-campus residence hall, filed to run for a seat on the city council representing the ward that includes the campus.
Gilbert cited the wording of state law requiring voters to be registered at their “permanent” domicile. He argued a dorm room occupied for only part of the year is a temporary residence. The GOP controlled elections board agreed, voting 2-1 to bar King from the ballot.
Because college students statistically and historically tend to support Democratic candidates and policies, this move is obviously an attempt by Republicans to discourage turnout and participation by young voters. Similar measures were instituted by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker through a Voter ID law he signed in 2011 — a law that was later overturned and deemed “unconstitutional” by a federal judge.
Pasquotank GOP elections chairman Gilbert has vowed to go after more students statewide who use campus addresses on their voter registration forms, saying, “”I plan to take this show on the road.”