In what’s been described as a victory for student voting rights, the North Carolina Board of Elections ruled Tuesday that an Elizabeth City State University student can run for office using his school address, despite challenges from Republicans. The Pasquotank County Republican Party chair had challenged Montravias King‘s candidacy for city council on the grounds that his on-campus address did not prove permanent residency. Republicans on the local board of elections upheld that challenge, disqualifying King from running for office. On Tuesday, the State Board of Elections reversed that decision.
A second voting rights case Tuesday upheld a decision by the Watauga County elections board to close an early voting site on the Appalachian State University campus. Challengers, including the local county board’s sole Democratic member, argued that the early voting site on campus should be kept open since many voters in the community either attend or work at ASU.
Many voting rights advocates worried the decision in the King case could have implications beyond the seat he was running for, since the residency rules for voting and candidacy are the same. The issue of whether or not a student can cast a ballot in the town he or she attends school has been debated and fought over legally, with the Supreme Court ruling in 1979 in favor of students.