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article imagePasquotank Board of Elections Throws ECSU Student Off Ballot

By Kelly Fetty     Aug 29, 2013 in Politics
Elizabeth City - The Pasquotank Board of Elections has denied Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) senior Montravias King a place on the ballot for the upcoming City Council election.
King, a 22-year-old Political Science major at ECSU, had filed to represent Elizabeth City's 4th ward.
King's right to campaign for the seat was challenged by Pasquotank County GOP Chair Richard "Pete" Gilbert on the grounds that King had failed to prove he was a permanent resident.
King lives in a dormitory and gives his address as 1704 Weeksville Road, which is the official address of ECSU. King has been registered to vote since enrolling in ECSU in 2009 and has voted in 6 elections. He said he lives on the campus year-round, attending both regular academic sessions and summer school.
Gilbert argued that a dormitory could not be considered a permanent domicile because it is occupied for only part of the year. The Republican-led Pasquotank Board of Elections agreed with Gilbert and disqualified King.
Clare Burnett, a lawyer with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, represented King at the August 13 hearing. She will appeal the ruling to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, according to a statement on the Southern Coalition for Justice (SCSJ) website.
The statement quotes SCSJ executive director Anita Earls: “Not only is the local board’s decision contrary to the facts presented at the hearing, it effectively means that no student living on campus can vote where they go to school, a ruling directly contrary to U.S. Supreme Court precedent.”
The North Carolina State Board of Elections has agreed to hear the appeal on September 3, according the Raleigh News and Observer's Under the Dome blog.
The election will take place on October 8, 2013.
Past Student Candidates
If King wins the right to appear on the ballot he will join the ranks of North Carolina student candidates who have run—and often won— in local elections in the past.
Some of those student candidates have gone on to lengthy careers in public service.
Gerry Cohen was elected to the North Carolina Board of Aldermen in 1973, when he was a law student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served on the board until 1979. He is now Special Counsel at the North Carolina General assembly.
Mark Chilton became the North Carolina's youngest elected official when he won a seat on the Chapel Hill Town Council in 1991 at the age of 21. In 2005 he was elected mayor of Carrboro, North Carolina.
Andy Ball became the first Appalachian State University undergraduate elected to the Town Council of Boone, North Carolina in 2009. He was re-elected to the council in 2011and is now a candidate for mayor of Boone.
Derwin Montgomery is perhaps the most recent student to win public office in North Carolina. In 2009 the 21-year-old Winston-Salem State University senior was elected to represent the East Ward on the Winston-Salem City Council. He is now campaigning for re-election.
Montgomery has offered to speak to the North Carolina State Elections Board on King's behalf, but has not yet been asked to do so.
More about Montravias King, Pasquotank County Board of Elections, Voting rights, North Carolina voting laws
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