State elections board makes decisions on 2 controversial cases

The North Carolina Board of Elections
September 3, 2013 8:23:43 PM PDT
The North Carolina Board of Elections says a student at Elizabeth City State University can run for city council.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday to allow Montravias King to run for the seat representing the campus.

Pasquotank County Republican Party Chairman Pete Gilbert had challenged King's residency. King has been registered to vote in the county since enrolling in college in 2009 and says he plans to stay after graduation.

King was elated following the ruling.

"I'm standing here on behalf of all college students," said King. "So, I'm just thankful. I'm really happy."

The NAACP agreed with the ruling.

"That's just a damn shame. I'm upset! I'm bothered by this," said State NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber. "It ain't difficult. He's a resident and if you're a resident and you've been voting, and you're a registered voter. You have a right to run."

The state election board also took up a ruling made by the election board in Watauga County.

The Watauga board eliminated an early voting site and Election Day precinct at Appalachian State University.

The state board voted 4 to 1 to uphold the Watauga board's decision.

That vote didn't sit well with Watauga County Democrat Kathleen Campbell or Boone voter Susan McCachren.

"To eliminate the most popular and most accessible voting location is to deliberately disenfranchise a major segment of the voting population," said Campbell.

"I think it's a sad, a sad day," said McCachren.

The state board chair says the bipartisan outcome of both cases proves his board can put politics aside to make a good decision.

"From what we've seen in the 100 county boards of elections across North Carolina, I think they'll follow our lead today and start to tender bipartisan decisions," said N.C. Elections Board Chairman Josh Howard.

Voting rights advocates say the moves signaled a statewide effort by Republicans to discourage turnout among young voters considered more likely to support Democrats.

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