State Politics

Parking requirements disqualify campus on-site voting

This story has been corrected. It originally said that the state’s new election law required curbside voting and adequate parking at all polling sites, and that the new law was the reason some campuses had lost their polling locations. Those parking requirements are the reasons given for moving the sites off campus, but they existed before the new law.

Some of the largest college campuses in the Triangle will not host early voting sites for the fall election.

County boards of elections have eliminated sites on area campuses that were used in previous elections, citing problems with parking and curbside voting.

The issue raised the ire of students and voting advocacy groups, and a lawsuit was brought over the removal of a site from Appalachian State University. On Wednesday, after an N.C. Court of Appeals decision, the State Board of Elections added a voting site at ASU. Minutes later, the state Supreme Court said it was sending the case to the Appeals Court to review. But the ASU site is likely to stay for early voting.

Proponents of the new law argue that nonstudents cannot easily reach early voting sites on campuses without adequate parking.

The law disqualified Rams Head Dining Hall at UNC-CH because the site does not offer curbside voting.

Tracy Reams, director of the Orange County Board of Elections, said the Hillel Center less than a mile from the center of campus was chosen as a replacement to cater to students.

But N.C. State University and Duke University students will travel about 2 miles off campus if they want to vote early.

The Wake County Board of Elections chose nine sites for this year’s election. In the 2012 general election, the State Board of Elections put an early voting site at NCSU’s Talley Student Center. It was used by more than 13,000 people.

David Robinson, chairman of the Wake County Board of Elections, said the county board did not choose NCSU as a site this year because of parking logistics.

“Clearly those state board members have never tried to park at N.C. State legally,” he said.

He called NCSU one of “the most inhospitable voting sites in the county.”

He said early voting sites are meant to alleviate congestion, and precincts around the university typically have low voter turnout.

But Ben Stockdale, president of NCSU College Democrats, said the voting site on campus catered to students who need a place where they can safely walk to vote.

The closest early voting site for NCSU is the Chavis Community Center – about 2.7 miles away from the main campus.

Gunther Peck, a Duke history professor, said voter participation at universities drastically increases when campuses have early voting sites. Duke did not host an early voting site for the primary, and it will not have one for the general election.

He said for the May primary in 2008, before Duke had its own early voting site, 11 percent of registered voters on campus voted. After Peck helped organize an effort to bring an early voting site to campus for the general election that year, 87 percent voted.

The number of people registered on campus increased from 1,000 to 4,000, he said.

“They don’t have cars, they don’t necessarily know where the polling places are, they are new to the community,” he said. “But when they do vote, students can make a difference in this state.”

Benjamin Brown of the NCInsider contributed to this report.

Where to vote early

Early voting begins Thursday and runs through 1 p.m. Nov. 1.

You do not need a photo ID to vote in this election. You cannot register and vote on the same day.

In Wake County:

• Apex Community Center, 53 Hunter St., Apex

• Chavis Community Center, 505 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Raleigh

• Herbert C. Young Community Center, 101 Wilkinson Ave., Cary

• Knightdale Recreation Center, 101 Lawson Ridge Road, Knightdale

• Northern Regional Center, 350 E. Holding Ave., Wake Forest

• Lake Lynn Community Center, 7921 Ray Road, Raleigh

• Optimist Community Center, 5900 Whittier Drive, Raleigh

• Wake Technical Community College Main Campus, 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh

Hours for the above sites are:

11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 23-24 and Oct. 27-31

9 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 25 and Nov. 1

1-5 p.m. Oct. 26

• Wake County Board of Elections, 337 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh, will be open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 23-24 and Oct. 27-Oct. 31

9 a.m.-1p.m. Nov. 1

In Durham County:

• Board of Elections Office, 201 N. Roxboro St., Durham

Hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 23, Oct. 27-28 and Oct. 30

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 24, Oct. 29 and Oct. 31

9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 25

2-6 p.m. Oct. 26

9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 1

• N.C. Central University, Student Union Building, 1801 Fayetteville St., Durham

• North Regional Library, 222 Milton Road, Durham

• South Regional Library, 4505 S. Alston St., Durham

Hours for the above are 2-6 p.m. Oct. 24; 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 25;

2-6 p.m. Oct. 26; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 27-28 and Oct. 30; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 29; 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 31; 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 1

• North Regional Library, 222 Milton Road, Durham

• South Regional Library, 4505 S. Alston St., Durham

Hours for the libraries:

2-6 p.m. Oct. 24

9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 25

2 -6 p.m. Oct. 26

11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 27-28 and Oct. 30

11 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 29

2 p.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 31

9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 1

In Johnston County:

• First Baptist Church Ministry Center, 125 S. Fourth St., Smithfield

• Church at Clayton Crossing, 11407 U.S. 70 West, Clayton

• JCC Cleveland Campus, 9046 Cleveland Road, Clayton

• Archer Lodge Community Building, 14009 Buffalo Road, Clayton

• Benson American Legion Building, 605 N. Wall St., Benson

The Smithield site will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. both Saturdays. All the other sites will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. both Saturdays.

In Orange County:

• Board of Elections building, 208 S. Cameron St., Hillsborough

Hours:

8 a.m.-6 p.m., Oct. 23-24 and Oct. 27-Oct. 31

9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 25

9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 1

• Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St., Carrboro

• Seymour Senior Center, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill

• North Carolina Hillel, 210 W. Cameron Ave, Chapel Hill

• Master’s Garden Preschool, 7500 Schley Road, Hillsborough

Hours for the four above sites:

Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 23

Noon-6 p.m. Oct. 24 and Oct. 31

9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 25

Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 27-Oct. 30

9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 1

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