It would seem logical that a university with 34,000 students should have an on-campus voting site for students to use. Yet, ever since 2012, NC State has lacked such a voting site, seeing it moved off campus for unnecessary reasons. With the upcoming and important 2016 presidential election, an early, on-campus voting site is needed in Talley Student Union now more than ever.
Back during the 2012 presidential election, the last time a voting site was hosted on NC State’s campus, 90 percent of State students who were registered to vote, voted. For college-aged students, whose national registered voting average usually fluctuates around 50 percent, such a high turnout rate is incredible. Further, thousands of students and community members alike used NC State’s voting, ultimately accounting for 6 percent of the votes cast in Wake County that election. NC State’s on-campus voting site, then, was a resounding success — creating an easily accessible location for students and community members alike.
Yet, following the 2012 election, the North Carolina Board of Elections voted to move NC State’s on-campus voting site elsewhere, citing concerns over Talley’s ongoing construction and corresponding parking issues. At the time, with Talley Student Union under extensive renovation, these concerns were legitimate.
But today, well over a year after Talley’s completion, these concerns seem to have been resolved. Talley now stands ready for a voting site. It has ample parking surrounding it, and it represents a location that many NC State students and community members walk through daily, yet the voting site hasn’t been returned. It is due time that the North Carolina Board of Elections reinstalls NC State’s voting site.
In last month’s primaries, NC State students faced numerous issues concerning voting — all of which could be solved by an early, on-campus voting location. To the thousands of students who don’t own a car or another adequate means of transportation, an on-campus site would enable them to vote without having to walk miles to cast a ballot. And to the other thousands of students who are still registered at a polling location far away from campus, an early voting site in Talley would enable students to cast a ballot where they go to school and not have to worry about having to make it to a far-off voting location.
If we, as a society, truly care about the principle of one person, one vote and want to ensure that student’s voices are heard in our government, then we must have a voting site on NC State’s campus.
Currently, multiple on-campus efforts are addressing this terrible lack. A bill, which passed unanimously in front of the NC State Student Senate and was quickly signed by Student Body President Khari Cyrus, called for an on-campus voting site, while a petition supporting such a site has garnered hundreds of student signatures.
However, perhaps the only way the North Carolina Board of Elections reinstalls a much-needed voting site is not through a few small measures. What’s needed is an overwhelming wave of support from students, staff and faculty alike. If the NC State campus can stand together on such an important location, then maybe, just maybe, the NC State community will be able to vote in Talley Student Union in the November elections. What a beautiful and important thing that would be.