WINSTON-SALEM – The newly appointed Republican head of the Forsyth County Board of Elections says he plans to eliminate an early voting site at Winston-Salem State University.
The Winston-Salem Journal reported that elections chairman Ken Raymond will move at a meeting Tuesday to shut down the voting site at the historically black college.
Raymond said he is taking action after hearing talk that a professor had offered students extra credit for going to the polls, which he said was violation of a law barring someone from providing anything of value in exchange for votes. Raymond offered no proof such irregularities had occurred.
Forsyth is the latest county making it harder for students to cast a ballot, a trend voting rights advocates worry could signal a statewide effort by GOP-controlled elections boards to discourage turnout among young voters considered more likely to support Democrats.
The Republican majority on the Watauga County Board of Elections voted last week to eliminate an early voting site and election-day polling precinct on the campus of Appalachian State University.
Republicans on the Pasquotank County Board of Elections also voted last week to bar an Elizabeth City State University senior from running for city council, ruling his on-campus address couldn’t be used to establish local residency. Following the decision, the head of the county’s Republican Party said he plans to challenge the voter registrations of more students at the historically black university ahead of upcoming elections.
The moves come after Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law last week requiring voters to have specific forms of government-issued photo identification to cast a ballot, a measure he and other Republicans said is needed to prevent voter fraud. But the GOP-backed law also contains more than 40 other provisions, including ending same-day voter registration, trimming the period for early voting from 17 days to 10 and eliminating a program that encourages high school students to register to vote in advance of their 18th birthdays.
Democratic lawmakers repeatedly tried to change the bill to allow student IDs from state-supported universities and community colleges to be used at the polls, but those efforts were blocked by the Republican majority at the state legislature.