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ASU Voting Rights Lawsuit Will Be Focus of Democratic County Convention

The team of lawyers who successfully argued in Wake Superior Court for the constitutionally protected voting rights of college students at Appalachian State University will be keynote speakers at the Watauga County Democratic Party’s county convention on April 16.

Lawyers Sabra Faires and Bill Gilkeson of the Raleigh firm of Bailey & Dixon led the legal team that successfully argued for the restoration of Early Voting on the ASU campus in the fall of 2014. Wake Superior Court Chief Judge Donald Stephens agreed that the local Republicans on the Watauga Board of Elections had discriminated against ASU students in the allocation of Early Voting sites.


Sabra Faires concentrates her practice in government law, especially areas of elections and political law. She had extensive experience at the NC General Assembly before joining Bailey & Dixon. She served on both Republican and Democratic leadership staffs of the NC House and Senate, as well as the central staff. Her positions included Senate Tax Counsel, Chief of Staff and General Counsel to then Co-Speaker Richard T. Morgan, and counsel to both the House and Senate Finance Committees.

Bill Gilkeson also has extensive experience in political, campaign, and election law. He joined Bailey & Dixon after 25 years on the legal staff of the General Assembly. At the legislature, he specialized in election law, campaign finance, and redistricting. His work included drafting legislation and advising legislators of both parties. After the 1990 and 2000 censuses, he participated in drawing districts for State House, State Senate, and congressional seats.

Sabra Faires is also well known throughout North Carolina for her current suit against the General Assembly’s new innovation of “retention elections” for NC Supreme Court justices. She won that suit at the first stage, a three-judge panel which ruled that the General Assembly had violated the state constitution in arranging for Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds to run unopposed for reelection this fall.


Although that case is still pending on appeal to the NC Supreme Court, the lower court ruling is in effect, and Faires has filed to run against Edmunds this November for his Supreme Court seat.

The Watauga County Democratic convention will convene at the County Courthouse in the lobby of Courtroom # 1 on Saturday, April 16, at high noon for a potluck luncheon and convention registration. The convention program will begin at 1 p.m. in Courtroom # 1 with Chair Diane Tilson presiding