N&O Commentary: Board decision on college candidate flies in face of NC law

From the Raleigh News&Observer

“Dorm residency issue is settled NC law,”
by Gerry Cohen

The decision of the Pasquotank County Board of Elections to reject the city council candidacy of an Elizabeth City State University student because he lives in a dorm raises again the issue of student voting in college towns.

His candidacy in a primarily black ward was challenged by a white political party chairman. It has been settled law in North Carolina that students could vote where they go to school, specifically including a dorm, as long as they do not intend to return to their parents’ home to live after graduation. That was the unanimous N.C. Supreme Court holding in the 1979 Lloyd v. Babb case in which petitioners challenged 7,000 Orange County voters and in the 1972 case of Hall v. Wake County concerning Meredith freshman Kathy Hall, who lived in a dorm. The General Assembly in the 1980s wrote the holding of the Lloyd case into a statute. …

Montravias King went to Elizabeth City State University in 2009 as a freshman and has lived year-round there since then, spending academic years in the same dorm and summer sessions in other university housing. He has voted six times in Pasquotank County, volunteered in the community and has held several jobs there. His driver’s license address is his dorm room.

Post-graduation in 2014, King plans to attend Regent University Law School in Virginia Beach and to commute from Elizabeth City. What a model citizen. On July 19, he filed to run for a city council seat. Yet by a 2-1 vote, the county board of elections last week tossed him off the ballot, saying a dorm room could not be a permanent residence, flying totally in the face of the law. …

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/20/3122658/dorm-residency-issue-is-settled.html#storylink=cpy

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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