SCSJ congratulates voting rights client Montravias King, a senior at Elizabeth City State University, on being elected to city council in Elizabeth City, NC. Mr. King finished in first place in Ward 4 with enough votes to prevent a runoff, according to the Daily Advance. King was the highest vote-getter in a field of seven. At this time he is the youngest elected official in North Carolina, and the first ECSU student elected to city council in Elizabeth City. He also joins an elite cadre of North Carolina students elected to office while attending a historically black college or university – his two peers in this category are Danielle Adams of North Carolina Central University (elected as Durham’s Soil and Water Conservation Director) and Derwin Montgomery of Winston Salem State University (elected to the Winston-Salem city council).
Montravias has come along way since July, when the local Pasquotank County board of elections ruled that he was ineligible to run because he lives on-campus at Elizabeth City State University.
SCSJ staff attorney Clare Barnett represented King before the County and State Boards of Elections when his candidacy was challenged by Pete Gilbert, Pasquotank County GOP Chair. At the State Board of Elections, Barnett emphasized that voters and candidates face the same residency requirements. Because students often treat their dorms as their residences, denying Mr. King’s candidacy would potentially bar college students around the state from voting. The State Board of Elections unanimously overruled the County Board’s decision and allowed Montravias to run for office while living in a college dormitory.
From the time of the State Board of Elections decision granting him the right to run, Montravias has done just that. Personally knocking on the doors of 365 4th Ward voters, he has gained the confidence of his community. SCSJ is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organiization. While we strongly advocate for Montravias’ right to run, SCSJ did not contribute to the actual political campaign.
The first live interview with Montravias following his election was by Andy Fox of Wavy.com. King’s efforts have previously been covered extensively on The Rachel Maddow Show and other national media outlets.
Blog post by SCSJ Legal Intern Howie Lintz