At last month’s Buncombe County Board of Elections meeting, the board approved an early voting plan that established early voting locations at both A-B Tech and UNC Asheville. As a UNCA student, I personally know just how important it can be to have an early voting site on North Carolina college campuses.
In March, I volunteered as a Democracy North Carolina poll monitor for the state’s primary election and witnessed firsthand many of the challenges student voters face. Some students I spoke with were turned away because they did not have accepted identification under the new voter ID law. Others were not registered correctly and relied on same-day registration to correct problems. Even more faced physical or logistical barriers to voting at locations far from their workplaces or school.
Having an on-campus polling location will help address many of these problems. These convenient sites greatly assist students with disabilities and those who do not have easy access to transportation off campus. Other students will be voting for the first time since the photo ID requirement was enacted. A site on campus will help students who forgot or did not know they needed photo ID to vote to quickly retrieve it and vote a regular ballot. Plus, if there are issues with voter registration or other problems at the polls, early voting allows students to fix these issues and vote in this important election.
I applaud the Board of Elections for hearing our calls for campus locations and including early voting sites at UNCA and A-B Tech. Students and other millennial voters are a large demographic in our area and in many parts of the state, and their voices should be heard. The Board of Elections’ expansion of campus locations means they won’t just be heard, but that they matter.
— Edward Peters
Senior at UNC Asheville and organizing intern at Democracy North Carolina