Judge: BOE must include an early voting site on ASU campus


The Appalachian Online

Joshua Farmer

Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ruled Monday the State Board of Elections’ plan to not include an early voting site on Appalachian State University’s campus is unconstitutional.

“The early voting plan submitted by the majority members of the Watauga County Board of Elections was arbitrary and capricious,” according to the court order. “All the credible evidence indicates that the sole purpose of that plan was to eliminate an early voting site on campus so as to discourage student voting and, as such, it is unconstitutional.”

William Gilkeson, the legal representative for the plaintiffs, said with the ruling the State BOE has to adopt an early voting site plan for Watauga County with at least one early voting site on Appalachian’s campus.

“They can appeal this, but we don’t know whether they will or not,” Gilkeson said. “We hope they won’t.”

Pam Williamson, wife of Jerry Williamson, the Democratic Party’s secretary, and students Marianne Clawson, Alaina Doyle, Lauren Larue Joyner, Ian O’Keefe and David Sabbagh made up the plaintiffs of the case.

O’Keefe said he feels an appeal from the Board of Elections would be unnecessary and also a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

“I would hope they would respect the will of the community and the will of students and community members, he said. “Justice has been served and people of this community will now have a voice and will be able to vote in an accessible location.”

O’Keefe also said there is no benefit to anyone regarding the original plan to not include an early voting site on campus.

“We realized that when this early voting plan came into be, the plan was to make it more difficult for students to vote and we realized we had to stand up and fight and stand up and vote for students’ rights to vote,” O’Keefe said. “What they ruled today in Raleigh is what we’ve wanted for quite a while.”

Story: Nicole Caporaso, Senior News Reporter