Post Classifieds

WSSU retains voting station

By Jaye Cole
On November 18, 2010

  • Jaye Cole

Despite a recent complaint filed by the Forsyth County GOP, Winston-Salem State may still have the opportunity to serve as a one-stop early voting station in the next elections.

The Forsyth County Board of Elections had a special meeting Oct. 22 to review early voting locations. This came after Nathan Tabor, Forsyth County GOP chair, sent a letter to the Forsyth County Board of Elections.

The letter addressed an e-mail sent by WSSU Student Affairs Oct. 18 to students, faculty and staff encouraging them to vote early. At the end of the message was a request to help the Democratic Party.

Tabor called the e-mail "a violation of state law," and went on to say the message tarnished WSSU's reputation.

"This whole situation has gone viral," Tabor said.

"This has made the University look like cheaters in front of the entire nation."

During the special meeting, the Forsyth County GOP strongly opposed the Anderson Center as a one-stop voting location and motioned that the Board of Elections find an alternate site.

According to the minutes, university officials agreed that the e-mail was an improper use of a state employee's authority and use of state property.

However, Board secretary Frank M. Dickerson said it was impossible to create another nearby site in the short time allowed.

In addition, State Rep. Larry Womble (D) said that many poor citizens in the neighborhood would be unable to vote without the WSSU site because they lacked transportation.

Board Chair Linda J. Person said that the Board would welcome suggestions for early voting locations. She said she believed that the WSSU incident was very unfortunate, but the intent was not malicious.

 The Board of Elections would ensure that the location is secure with trained staff. She said that since the WSSU site serves students and staff from several colleges and a large surrounding neighborhood population, she would not be in favor of closing the site.

Previously, the Board unanimously voted for the location and the State Board approved the early voting plan. Even though the mistake occurred, the Board must always provide the most convenient locations for early voting.

Dickerson said that he shared many of the sentiments from both sides, and that WSSU should not be approved as an early voting location in the future unless procedures were in place to prevent similar issues.

"It must be a fair and equitable location to vote," Dickerson said.

Dickerson proposed a motion for the Board to request that WSSU officials notify them of procedures to prevent a similar incident.

That motion passed unanimously.

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