Carl Hintz | Correspondent
On Oct. 27 NC State opened an early voting site at the Creative Services building near the McKimmon Center. For many students like Kerri Johnson, a sophomore studying biology, early voting is a convenient option “It was a lot easier than I thought it would be,” Johnson said.
Across North Carolina, the first day of early voting was October 20th. At the start of early voting, many voting sites saw voters standing in line for hours, but one hundred and forty-five new voting sites opened for the last ten days of early voting. These sites will allow higher voting capacity and will likely increase the amount of early voting.
The length of lines varies with the time. According to the Wake County Board of Elections website, “voting lines are the longest on the final 3 days of early voting.” For the on campus voting site on Saturday, Oct. 29 at noon, it took less than 20 minutes for voters to receive a ballot.
Three members of the county Wake County Board of Elections selected the early voting locations earlier this year. One was opened on NCSU’s campus at the Creative Services Building near the McKimmon Center. Christian Jones, a senior studying political science said, “It would be better if early voting was available at Talley, but it’s good that it is on campus. It’s really convenient. You just take the five from main campus.” Jones was referring to the the number five route of the Wolfline which will take students to the voting site.
In 2013, the State Legislature passed legislation that restricted early voting from seventeen to ten days, eliminated same day registration and required voter IDs. Major parts of this law were overturned as unconstitutional in July 2016.
Even though the court ruling required that early voting be restored to seventeen days, the Wake County Board of Elections reduced the number of early voting sites for the first week of early voting. “It’s probably not a good idea. Restricting early voting makes it more difficult to vote. It might discourage people from voting,” Johnson said.
Some students expressed their concern that the Republican controlled legislature sought County Board of Elections Offices sought to gain a partisan advantage with their decisions. “It’s purely a strategy to prevent a demographic that would vote against you from voting. They were able to do it in a legal way,” Jones said. “Primarily those tactics prevent people who usually don’t vote from voting.”
A graduate student at NCSU who wished to remain anonymous stressed the importance of voting. They said, “People have died and fought for the right to vote. Many immigrants would love to vote but don’t have the opportunity to.”
While the reduced number of early voting sites may prevent some from voting, restrictions sometimes backfire by motivating more people to use their right to vote. If early voting turnout is high at the on campus early voting site, it will be difficult for the Board of Elections to justify eliminating on campus voting in the future. “We need to show people that we are willing to use this opportunity, so that they don’t restrict early voting,” Jones said.
For more information on early voting sites near campus, head to the Nubian Message website, www.thenubianmessage.com.