Point of view

Wake Board of Election's dubious removal of NCSU early voting site

July 8, 2014 

Another detrimental blow has been dealt to student voters in North Carolina. Two weeks ago, the Wake Country Board of Elections Committee officially decided which community centers would be used as early voting sites in the upcoming autumn general elections. Unfortunately, N.C. State University was not on the list.

Why would the board decide to shut down N.C. State’s polling site – a site that has historically been used to service thousands of students, first-time voters and community members for many years? NCSU is a perfect place to have a polling station, considering the campus sits in one of the most densely populated and socioeconomically diverse parts of Raleigh and boasts more than 34,000 students and 8,000 staff members, all of whom are potential voters.

There is no reason that N.C. State should not continue to be an official voting site. Its removal leads me to believe that there might be an agenda being pushed here. Cases of polling sites being moved off college campuses are not unique to Wake County. In the last few months, college campuses including Duke and Appalachian State have seen their campus voting sites closed. It appears there are individuals attempting to suppress the youth vote in North Carolina.

Lacking cars or access to quick and efficient modes of transportation, many students will find it significantly more difficult to vote early this coming fall at distant polling stations. As a result, the increase in youth civic engagement that North Carolina has joyfully experienced during the last few election cycles may drop considerably. This should be the foremost concern for all North Carolina residents.

College students and young voters in this state are our country’s future. The policies passed by our elected officials should reflect the diverse makeup of North Carolinians – including the high number of young voters. Voting is the first step in the process of becoming an engaged and responsible citizen – something many young people begin to learn while they are on a college campus for the first time.

As an NCSU senior, I think my peers and I have been targeted for disenfranchisement. I believe that the closure of the NCSU polling site is yet another attempt to put barriers in the way of young people getting access to the polls. I will not sit idly by and let my voice and the voice of my generation be silenced.

Joseph Mathis of Morganton is an intern with NCPIRG.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service