Hours after passing the country’s worst voter suppression law, North Carolina Republicans escalated their attempts to prevent students from participating in the political process. The GOP-controlled board of elections in Pasquotank County voted to disqualify Montravias King, a senior at historically black Elizabeth City State University, from running for city council, claiming King couldn’t use his student address to establish residency, even though he’s been registered to vote there since 2009. “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,” the AP reported. The GOP chair of the Forsyth County Board of Elections is moving to shut down an early voting site at historically black Winston-Salem State University because he claims students were offered extra credit in class for voting there. “He offered no proof such irregularities had occurred,” the Raleigh News and Observer noted.
—The GOP-controlled Watauga County Board of Elections in Boone, North Carolina, voted along party lines to close an early voting and general election polling place at Appalachian State University. Instead, the county limited early voting to one site in Boone and created the state’s third-largest voting precinct, with 9,300 voters at a precinct designed for 1,500, with only thirty-five parking places. It’s inaccessible by public transportation and over a mile from campus along a 45 mph road with no sidewalk. “I feel like the people (students) who really care might come all the way out here to vote,” said Ashley Blevins, a junior at Appalachian State, “but I know a lot of people who are like, ‘eh, it’s too far—I don’t think I’m going to walk that far,’ because they don’t really have another way of getting here.”
The attempt to prevent students from voting and running for office where they attend school is likely unconstitutional based on the 1979 Supreme Court case Symm v. United States. Nonetheless, the GOP board of elections in Pasquotank County formally prevented King from running for office today. King can then appeal to the state board of elections, which is also controlled by Republicans. If it refuses to accept his candidacy, he can appeal to the state court of appeals. But time is running short. The election is the second Tuesday in October, and ballots will soon be printed without his name on it. There’s no guarantee the courts will hear the case before the election.