ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) - Elizabeth City State University senior Montravias King was on the ballot for the coming City Council election. Then the local elections board took his name off.
King's problems began when Pete Gilbert, the Pasquotank Republican Party chairman, challenged his candidacy, claiming his college dorm address did not count as a permanent residence -- which is required to vote and file candidacy in North Carolina.
The republican dominated Pasquotank County Elections Board agreed and voted 2-1 that King is inherently living at a temporary address, even though he is allowed to vote in the county and has for the last four years.
"The law the Supreme Court has clearly ruled is that the students have the right to vote in the city where they attend school. If I have the right to vote here, then I should have the right to run here," King said. "I have voted in every election, and the residency requirement [for voting] is the same as the requirements for [candidacy]."
It is that point that raises a huge question as to whether students living on campus can vote at all, and that is why King calls his case and North Carolina ground zero for voter suppression.
"It is a statewide effort to suppress not only the college vote, but the vote of the minority, of the elderly, the poor, and those with disabilities," King said.
King's attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice has filed an appeal with the State Board of Elections. With all the attention King has received, he may stand a favorable chance of winning.
"I do think it's wrong because the law clearly states the address he uses to vote is the same address he uses to run for council," said King Supporter and ECSU student Christine Persico.
King's battle with the elections board and Gilbert comes after vast revisions to North Carolina elections were signed into law last week.
WAVY.com called members of the elections board, but our calls were unanswered and unreturned.
King continues with his campaign, officially kicking it off next week. Count on WAVY.com to keep you updated on his appeal and campaign.
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