As I draft this, the Watauga County Republican Party is poised to hold its first secret Executive Committee Meeting [WGOP/ECM] following the recent so-called WGOP Convention. Tonight’s meeting has not been advertised. Only very few party activists have received notice of tonight’s WGOP/ECM meeting through an “eNews” letter. The WGOP is becoming an exclusive club of the inner sanctum. The Watauga public is only invited to vote; i.e., on voting day put a cross in the right ballot boxes, and then go away until the next election. This describes the attitude at that so-called WGOP Convention, and this describes the attitude so far after that so-called Convention. Nothing learned.
Still, there is important business at tonight’s WGOP/ECM. For the first time in ages, the GOP has a majority on the Watauga County Election Board. Therefore, the WGOP/ECM will submit recommendations for two GOP members of the Board, and for Watauga County Elections Director.
Shenanigans have been the staple of the Democratic-controlled Board of Elections. These will have to be remedied, particularly on the ASU Campus. The main case in point is the North Carolina law regarding residency of college students. Case law in North Carolina provides the legal presumption that college students are not domiciled in the college town to which they go. It is a rebut-able presumption that can be overcome with the greater weight of the evidence. Case law also provides that the person alleging the change of domicile (the student) bears the burden of proof in providing evidence of the change. Proof could be a North Carolina driver’s license or form ID or bill that bears the name of the voter and his new address. Most often students do not change their addresses. They go home on weekends and on Christmas because they have not abandoned their domicile.
North Carolina Election Law provides that there are four prongs to changing residency:
–Abandon the first domicile with intent
–not to return to it,
–acquire a new domicile with intent of
–making the new domicile a permanent home.
Dorms at ASU are temporary housing for students. Their rights of visitors are limited and they are not allowed to have spouses or children live with them. Specifically, students residing in campus housing at ASU cannot make this a permanent home, as required by election law.
While this is the law in North Carolina, the North Carolina State Board of Elections [NCSBOE] under Democratic administrations has practically provided that students have a duty to register on campus. Democratic NCSBOE policies have relaxed the laws for students registering to vote at One Stop, thereby creating a special class of voters.
All of the above will have to change. Here is to hoping that the WCGOP/ECM will have the foresight and the fortitude to do the right thing tonight.
Students have a right to vote, and a responsibility to abide by the rules. It is unfortunate that the Democratic-controlled Board of Elections has for years broken the rules.
Nate Di Cola