The Orange County Board of Elections met today to discuss early voting sites for the 2014 elections and beyond.
At the heart of the discussion today was what an on-campus voting site at UNC could be. In other parts of the state, such as Watauga and Pasquotank counties, students have seen their voting rights undermined through the loss of on-campus voting sites and challenges to student residency. While no such issues have emerged yet in Orange County, there has been some speculation that the Republican-majority Orange County Board of Elections might not maintain an on-campus voting site for UNC students for upcoming elections.
However, that speculation seems to have been brought to an end today, when Board Chair Kathy Knight said emphatically, "This board is not Watauga [County]." As the live tweets from today's meeting (below) show, it appears the Board of Elections is committed to having an early voting site on campus. The Board did not make any final decisions on voting sites today, but finalists for the on-campus site appear to include Cobb Residence Hall, Hillel, and the Stone Center.
I'm relieved and refreshed to see a commitment from our Board of Elections to maintaining a student voting site despite trends elsewhere in our state. I hope we see that commitment maintained well into the future, and I hope UNC students understand the importance of exercising their right to vote at the early voting site.