ASG, town council respond to voting changes

Stephanie Sansoucy

Both the Association of Student Governments and the Boone Town Council wrote resolutions this week in opposition to the Watauga County Board of Elections’ recent decision to combine Boone voting
precincts.

ASG also wrote a resolution called “A Statement Regarding the Actions of the General Assembly” in opposition to the recent decisions of the North Carolina General Assembly. This includes allowing guns on college campuses, the possibility of tuition hikes and the possibility of attorneys being involved in legal matters typically handled by universities.

The resolution is also against the voter ID policy, specifically the matter of not being able to use student IDs to vote.

“The passage of House Bill 589 does not allow students to use North Carolina University System identification cards as valid identification and that lessens the opportunity for citizens to vote early, will prohibit numerous students from civilly engaging in the political process and making their voices heard,” according to ASG’s resolution.

The second resolution, called “The Support of Student Voting Act,” was sponsored by Appalachian State University student-body president Dylan Russell.

This resolution expressed ASG’s dissatisfaction with the recent Watauga County Board of Election’s decision to remove on-campus voting, the recent decision to not allow an Elizabeth City State University student to run for town council in Pasquotank County and the threat of removing on-campus voting in Forsyth County.

“The UNC Association of Student Governments supports student voting; and be it further, we do not agree with efforts to restrict student participation in the electoral process and deter civic engagement; and be it further, we encourage all counties, especially ones that contain a UNC-system university, to allow student voting to be an easily accessible and encouraged process,” according to ASG’s resolution.

Russell said he was satisfied with the resolutions.

“ASG, at best, is a student advocacy group,” he said. “These pieces of legislation show our policy makers that as a collective whole, the UNC system and the delegations from the respective schools oppose the actions that have taken place this past year.”

The Boone Town Council also passed a resolution against the Watauga County Board of Elections, asking them to keep the polling areas the same as they were previously.

“The new Boone ‘Super Precinct’ was created with the obvious and partisan purpose of making it as hard as possible for students attending Appalachian State University to vote despite the fact that 31 percent of the town’s 15,017 municipal voters live in dormitories on the ASU campus,” according to the resolution.

Boone mayor Loretta Clawson, who also wrote a letter to the State Board of Elections explaining her dissatisfaction with the decision, said she agreed with the council’s resolution.

“I’m just amazed by the [Watauga County] Board of Elections,” she said. “It’s very sad to see so much work by citizens of the town and county regarding student voting for it all to just go away.”

In a 2-1 decision, the Watauga County Board of Elections voted to combine Boone precincts 1, 2 and 3 into one precinct Aug. 12. This change included moving voting from Plemmons Student Union to the Agricultural Conference Center on Poplar Grove Road.

Story: CHELSEY FISHER, Senior News Reporter