On October 21, 2014 the North Carolina Court of Appeals REFUSED to stay an order of Superior Court Judge Stephens requiring an early voting site on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone, (Watauga County) North Carolina. On October 22, the State Board of Elections held an emergency meeting where they approved a plan that will comply with the Judge’s ruling, adding an early voting site at the Appalachian State University student union. The North Carolina Supreme Court became involved, but the Board of Elections decision to move forward with the App State early voting site is final. Early Voting starts on October 23. Here’s what Judge Stephens found:
* The early voting plan Respondent adopted for Watauga County affects not only a substantial right, but a constitutional right of young voters in that county who are students at Appalachian State University (ASU).
* The majority plan of the Watauga County Board of Elections on its face appears to have as a major purpose the elimination of an early voting site on the ASU campus. Based on this record, the court can conclude no other intent from that board’s decision other than to discourage student voting. A decision based on that intent is a significant infringement of students’ rights to vote and rises to the level of a constitutional violation of the right to vote.
* The early voting plan submitted by the majority members of the Watauga County Board of Elections was arbitrary and capricious. All the credible evidence indicates that the sole purpose of that plan was to eliminate an early voting site on campus so as to discourage student voting and, as such, it is unconstitutional.