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Judge rules App State must have early voting

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ruled that the State Board of Elections must approve of an early-voting plan for Watauga County that includes a one-stop site on the campus of Appalachian State University.

Local Democrats in Watauga County filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court in September claiming that the early-voting plan adopted in August violates the state and federal constitution by discriminating against college-aged voters. The plan, selected by the Republican majority on the Watauga County Board of Elections, did not include a one-stop site on ASU’s campus.

Stephens ruled that the decision to deny a one-stop site on campus was “arbitrary and capricious.”

“I think that what we see is that the voters won and that what they are doing is unconstitutional, and we’ve known that since the beginning,” Ian O’Keefe, coordinated campaign manager for the Watauga County Democratic Party, told High Country Press on Monday. “It’s a win for students, a win for voters in general and a win for anyone you wants to express their constitutional right to vote. I believe this was the correct decision and will be very good for voters.”

The first day of early voting is Oct. 23.