If a college student who lives on campus at Clemson University wants to register to vote in Pickens County, they can just fill out a voter registration form and list their campus housing as their legal residence. Same with students at the University of South Carolina or the College of Charleston or any number of colleges in South Carolina. But not in Greenville County. If a college student who lives on campus at Furman University or Greenville Technical College or Bob Jones University or North Greenville University wants to register to vote in Greenville County, they’re more than likely out of luck. That’s because those students must complete an 11-question form with answers that satisfy the county’s Board of Voter Registration and Elections. If they don’t return the form within 10 days, the board will reject their registration. If they don’t answer every question correctly with enough information to establish their residence in Greenville, the board will reject their registration.
Greenville County Voter Registration sends that form to every college student who attempts to register in the county using a campus address, Conway Belangia, the county’s director of voter registrations, told The Greenville News.
The additional questions are required, he said, under a 1973 federal district court ruling, Dyer vs. Huff, that bars the county Voter Registration and Elections office from allowing college students who list their address as a college campus from registering to vote in the county, Belangia said.
“We are following the guidelines of that court ruling requesting students, especially on campus students at any of the institutes of higher learning, to answer the questions that were provided to us in that federal court ruling,” Belangia said.