State Sen. Dan Soucek of Boone said he supports fairness and equity in voting when asked about his co-sponsorship of bills that would impact college students and where they vote. Soucek responded to several questions about Senate bills 666 and 667, which would bar parents from listing their children as dependents on state tax forms if the children register to vote at a different address. The state typically grants tax deductions ranging from $2,000 to $2,500 per child dependent. Soucek said that his co-sponsorship of the bills means he wants to be in on the discussion of a proposal that interests his district — “but this isn’t my bill,” he said. The senator said his support for the bill is motivated by basic principle and by a specific event. “(It’s about the) basic fairness and equity of voting, and what standards does a voter need to have to vote in a community?” he said.
College students vote in college communities even though their driver licenses, vehicle registrations and other aspects of their lives are based in a different community, Soucek said.
“No one else gets that privilege,” he added. “(There) seems to be a bit of inequality. I thought this (bill proposal) was a fairer idea.”
Soucek pointed to an occurrence at Warren Wilson College last November. The campus was split into two districts as a result of the state’s recent redistricting process, and, according to media reports, election officials waited until days before the election to inform campus administrators that students could no longer register at the campus post office address — that they must register at their local residences.
But Soucek views the ordeal — which ultimately flipped control of the Buncombe County commissioners to Democrats — as “election manipulation.”