New election law makes student voting more difficult

Aug 20, 2013

The election reform law signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, and the recent events following that decision, has only prompted more questions about the hoops people will have to jump through to vote.

Most worrisome are the changes that will make it more difficult for college students to vote. College students in North Carolina used to be able to register and vote on the same day in their college town — but not any more.

In the name of voting integrity, the new law prohibits same day voting and registration and a student’s college ID is no longer a valid form of identification.

Election boards in Watauga and Pasquotank counties, where state universities are located, have already made changes that will make it more burdensome for students to vote on campus.

Watauga County, home to Appalachian State University, decided to do away with an early voting site on the college campus as well as the polling site on campus.

The election board in Pasquotank County on the coast on North Carolina denied a college student the right to run for city council. The board argued that a college dorm address was not a permanent residence even though the student said he intended to stay as a resident after graduation.

The GOP Chairman Pete Gilbert led the effort to disqualify the student and also encouraged other counties to do the same among its college student population. Why would anyone want to keep anyone from voting when our country has a dismal voting record?

These actions seem like a way to suppress the vote of college students — who tend to vote on the left side of the political spectrum. For example, 60 percent of voters under 30 voted for Obama compared to 37 percent that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 elections, according to national election polls.

College students already have enough on their plate without worrying about where and how they will vote on Election Day. However, there are still remedies in place for the determined student to vote. The sad truth is that many probably won’t even bother to cast a ballot due to the hoops that are now in place.

We encourage students to not let these roadblocks deter them from exercising their right to vote. With several months to go before the next election, now is the time to educate yourself on early voting, polling places and the absentee ballot process.

In North Carolina, you do not need an “excuse” to cast an absentee ballot but you must request a ballot either by mail or in person at the Haywood County Election Office, Annex II, 1233 North Main Street, Waynesville, NC 28786. Include your name, address, date of birth and telephone number. It has to be submitted no later than the Tuesday before Election Day. For more voting instructions, visit