I haven't felt this good about voting in many years. My chance to strike a blow against voter suppression, against all the stupid and destructive revenge tactics of a political majority who obviously think they can stay in power if they can only squeeze the ballot box down to the size of a signet ring and wear it on their pinkies.
This long battle hasn't just been about college student rights, but I am proud that we stood up for those rights.
Meanwhile, in Raleigh, what happened yesterday? The State Board of Elections (SBOE), without a whisper of dissent, voted 5-0 shortly after 4 p.m. to place an Early Voting site in the ASU Student Union. Minutes later, the conservative majority on the state's Supreme Court put a stay on Judge Donald Stephens' ruling from last week that found unconstitutional voter suppression going on in Watauga County, rubber-stamped by the SBOE.
The Supreme Court put a stay on the ruling but did not order the Early Voting site in the Student Union closed, which has led to a good deal of confusion. We think it's all about keeping the ASU case from becoming legal precedent across the state.
The SBOE needed to do something to rehabilitate its tarnished image. One of its members had been colluding with Stacy C. Eggers IV ("Four") since the summer of 2013, and that had been exposed. Then "Four" Eggers' manipulation of his little brother and the corruption of the local BOE was exposed. Then the SBOE, in rubber-stamping "Four" Eggers' manipulation, decided to make no public record of why eliminating Early Voting at ASU was justified under the law. Judge Stephens could only conclude what he did:
...the court can conclude no other intent from [the Watauga BOE's] decision other than to discourage student voting. A decision based on that intent is a significant infringement of students' rights to vote and rises to the level of a constitutional violation of the right to vote.
If that decision had remained at the Superior Court level, it would have been a very localized issue, but in appealing to the NC Court of Appeals, the SBOE opened the door to setting a precedent that could be applied elsewhere. Early Voting has been taken away from other college campuses. And the Supreme Court obviously jumped in when they did yesterday to send a signal that they're in no mood to see the ASU case set any precedents elsewhere in North Carolina.
The battle is over, but the war is not.