Local government officials have issued a ruling that appears to have the effect of suppressing the voting rights of students at historically Black Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. The Pasquotank County Board of Elections ruled that students who live in on-campus housing at the university could not be considered as local residents. The chair of the GOP in the county has stated that he will challenge the eligibility of many students at the historically Black educational institution.
Montravis King, a senior at Elizabeth City State University, who has been registered to vote in the county since 2009, was running for a seat on the city council. But the county board of elections has ruled that he in ineligible because he is not registered in his “permanent domicile.” The county board, voting on strict party lines, ruled that a dormitory room is a temporary residence.
Clare Barnett, an attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, told the Associated Press, “The trend now is to attack the right of college students to vote. Under the equal protection principles of the constitution, you can’t treat college students differently from other voters.”