UPDATE: NHC Board of Elections does not address potential student voting problem

A local Democratic Party leader is concerned students votes won't counted. (Source: WECT)
A local Democratic Party leader is concerned students votes won't counted. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - With the general election around the corner, the New Hanover County Democratic Party is having some concerns with student voting. John Ferrante, the Chair of the NHC Board of Elections said the board addressed the Democratic leaders concerns at Tuesday's meeting.

According to New Hanover County Democratic Chairman Richard Poole, a debate has been going on since 2012 when the New Hanover County Board of Elections voted to not assist students in finding the physical address for their on campus housing when they register to vote.

New Hanover County's Board of Elections Chairman John Ferrante said they treat students the same as any other voter.

"The statute is very clear," Ferrante said. "We've been doing it the same way for years in all precincts."

Ferrante said the process is the same for any person who registers to vote. The election official asks voters to state their name and address, if they know it they will get a ballot, if they don't, they will be handed a provisional ballot that will be reviewed after the election.

However, Poole said it's very common for students not to know their physical address.

"They have no reason to know it, other than to vote," he stated. "They don't need it for mailing; their mail goes to a different place. They don't need it to order pizza; they just say bring it to my dormitory."

Poole expressed his concern to the New Hanover County Board of Elections meeting last month, but no decision was communicated to Poole. So he took it to the State Board of Elections.

The state board responded with a letter to New Hanover County Board of Elections Director Marvin McFadyen.

"It stands to reason that a student at a university can state the dorm at which he or she resides and the election official can verify that the street address for that dorm is in fact the registration address on file in the voter's official record of registration," said North Carolina State Board of Elections Special Council, Brian P. LiVecchi.

The board of elections sent out a letter to Poole Tuesday morning, stating they were not going to accept any public comments at their meeting that evening.

We spoke with Marvin McFayden, Director of the Board of Education, who said to the best of his knowledge the only item on the agenda for Tuesday night's meeting is the approval or disapproval of absentee ballots.

As a result, Poole and a group of protesters stood outside the NHC Board of Elections holding signs and chanting, "Let our students vote."

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