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Watauga, ASU Democrats Hold Press Conference at 11 AM To Discuss Two Senate Bills ‘Declaring War’ on College Students, Event Has Moved Inside Student Union

By Jesse Wood

Update: Due to the weather, the event has moved inside the Plemmons Student Union – Room 169. 

Originally published on April 15, 2013. The ASU College Democrats and the Watauga County Democratic Party are holding a press conference on Wednesday, April 17, at 11 a.m. because of two recent senate bills recently introduced in the N.C. General Assembly that, according to a release announcing the event, have “declared a war on students.”

ASU College DemocratsThe event will take place inside the Plemmons Student Union on the campus of ASU and features these speakers: Town of Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson, Boone Town Council Member Andy Ball, Watauga County Commissioner John Welch, WCDP Field Director Ian O’Keefe, ASU College Democrats President Mollie Clawson and WCDP Chair Diane Tilson.

The bills in question are Senate Bill 666 and Senate Bill 667. Both bills would eliminate a tax deduction for parents if their children are claimed as a dependent but register to vote at an address other than their parents. This bill mainly affects families with college students who attend school away from their hometown.

Senate Bill 666 would also repeal same-day voter registration and shorten early voting to ten days. Reached Monday morning, Jesse Presnell of the WCDP noted that both bills have the support of State Rep. Jonathan Jordan and State Sen. Dan Soucek, who also co-sponsored SB 666 and 667.

Presnell said the bills “really punishes students,” and “I don’t think it’s fair to penalize parents.”

“This [movement to mobilize students to participate in the campaign to ‘stop the war on students’] started on the campus of ASU to tell the community we are interested and we are aware of issues in the community and that we definitely want to participate in elections where we reside and pay sales tax,” Presnell said. “We are having this press conference to talk specifically about what we are going to do in the field and on campus to combat these bills and the legislators that support them.”

Presnell also added that the right for college students to vote at their own residence has already been granted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1979 case Symm vs. United States.

This event will officially kick off the ASU College Democrats “I Vote” campaign. The “I Vote” campaign, according to a release, is an on-campus partnership with the WCDP to make students’ voices heard on the local and state level.