Columnist: Election chaos at Warren Wilson could effect entire state

Here’s an excerpt from a guest column by Jay DeLancy, executive director of the Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina, a right-leaning non-partisan organization that researches and advises on election law reform. His column was first published in the Chapel Hill Herald-Sun (Click the link below to read the whole thing)>

A mid-December ruling by the State Board of Elections that allowed a do-over for some Buncombe County college students during early voting could wreak havoc in college towns all across the state.

The issue involved 175 Warren Wilson College students voting from their campus mailing facility (701 Warren Wilson Road in Asheville) instead of from their actual domiciles.

This type of registration happens at quite a few schools, like Duke, North Carolina Central, Wake Forest and School of the Arts, to name a few. It forces election employees either to hunt down the students’ physical addresses or to look the other way, letting students vote from their mailroom address; which appeared to be the Buncombe County Board of Elections practice for a “long time,” until it was busted. …

An unpopular but prudent solution would either have been to let the students vote by absentee ballot from their home of record or for the Buncombe County Board of Elections to count their ballots as “partials,” only applying their votes for the bigger races but not the problematic district ones. Some would scoff at that, but let’s never forget how many college students don’t even qualify for in-state tuition. They can vote in local races without consequence and rarely pay local property taxes.

Election officials blew the call. Hopefully, the courts will appreciate this peril along with a few related issues involving the entire student-voting franchise: First, do college students living at temporary addresses really have standing in local races? Second, are those young adults being politically manipulated by their college professors who can shape values with a bully pulpit and a grade book?


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0 thoughts on “Columnist: Election chaos at Warren Wilson could effect entire state

  1. bsummers

    “An unpopular but prudent solution…”

    This is despicable. Any ‘solution’ that would wind up striking just enough validly-cast votes off the District 2 race to give the County Commission to the GOP… that’s the ‘solution’ that makes sense to these people.

    College students vote. It’s the law of the land. Get over it. And when there’s any question about residency of a student voter, local Boards of Election depend on the notarized statements of college officials to place them in the proper district. That’s S.O.P. That’s what was done here. Is the author implying that Warren Wilson College officials lied to the BOE just to shift a couple dozen votes from one district into another district on election day?

    And just because they “rarely pay local property taxes”, it doesn’t mean college students aren’t invested in, educated about, or affected by local political choices. At what point does this ‘solution’ put forward by the “Voter Integrity Project” lead us to believe that only property-owning Christian white men should be allowed to vote?

    Tell you what. If they advocate also tracking down and invalidating the votes from the conservative-Christian Montreat College, just 10 miles up the road from WWC in District 2, I will be very impressed.

  2. Jameson Pepper

    If the Republican’s would put half the energy and effort into learning something of value instead of scheming and manipulating ways to “fix” their voting districts, then maybe they might actually learn something useful and stop causing harm to our communities.

    The only voting reform that deserves discussion is changing to a simple populous vote. That is a subject that terrifies the GOP since that would truly be the voice of the people. If we listened to what the people wanted, the Democrats would be in charge of both the House and Senate right now not to mention how many local governments.

    Greed and corruption remains at the top of the GOP agenda and unfortunately they were voted into office, fairly or not does not matter now. We need to, however, address and support our local college students that are being bullied and disrespected by our elected Republican officials.

    College students live in the towns and cities their colleges reside in. They contribute greatly to the local economy and make their towns more appealing even for the tourists. The term “college town” has a positive appeal for many, including businesses looking for a solid place to settle. They provide thousands of hours of volunteer work in the very towns that the Republicans don’t want them to have a voice in.

    Most college students are on their own for the first time. They are learning to become socially aware and ways to give back. Students are civically involved in every area and contribute both their time and resources in an attempt to support and improve their new communities. Voting from their campus home just makes sense. They are learning the important life lesson of giving back, especially since they now are realizing all the community provides for its citizens. This is an extremely important lesson if we are going to grow strong as a nation and succeed globally. Caring and supporting each other within our community, including our health and environment, is a lesson the GOP must had skipped entirely.

    Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for attempting to take the voice away from the very students that give selflessly to our communities. Not allowing them to vote in their community only diminishes their sense of civic belonging and appreciation. At least it does educate the students on what the GOP really cares about, and it obviously isn’t the people. The GOP sets an extremely poor example of what community is all about. Actually, they set a very poor example period.

    I am sure the GOP would ban college and university students from voting entirely if they could. After all they are the anti-education party. Bright educated free thinkers are able to see through their shallow and inadequate self serving philosophies.

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