August 30, 2013 SCSJ and Lawyers Committee weigh in on Watagua County Elections Issues
Today Anita Earls, Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and Robert Kengle of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, representing non-partisan legal services agencies with extensive experience in voting rights litigation, sent an advisory letter to the North Carolina State Board of Elections arguing that the Watauga County Board of Elections acted incorrectly in a series of decisions including removing an early voting precinct from the campus of Appalachian State University.
“The elimination of any on-campus voting location during early voting or on Election Day particularly threatens the ability of students at Appalachian State University to vote,” notes the letter.
The letter lists concerns with the proposed Watauga County early voting and precinct changes, including likely limitation of college student participation, the inadequate size for the sheer number of voters expected to use the Boone super precinct, and accessibility due to limited parking, as violations of both the State and Federal Constitutions.
According to the letter, “the actions of the Watauga County Board of Elections threaten the ability of Watauga County elections staff to administer a functioning polling place for the voters in the proposed Boone super precinct and, in turn, threaten those voters’ rights under Article VI, Section 1 of the North Carolina Constitution and the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution.” The letter “strongly urges the North Carolina State Board of Elections to prevent implementation of Watauga County’s early voting and precinct changes.”