Students at Warren Wilson College are being treated as expendable voters in a concerted effort by Republicans to gain a majority on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. For years, students at the renowned liberal college have been registered as living at the campus’ main address (701 Warren Wilson Road), but after the latest redistricting, the road itself became the dividing line between two county commission districts. Some students live in dorms on the south side of the road, some on the north side, a different district. The local board of elections discovered the importance of not placing students at their actual dorm addresses in the middle of the Early Voting period; with the help of the college administration, it quickly reassigned students to their proper district, depending on where they actually lived, and it also tracked down those students who voted earlier to get them the proper ballot.
Now a Republican running in the northern district county commission race claims the students should stay assigned to the 701 Warren Wilson address (on the south side of the road), which would subtract away dozens of the students’ generally Democratic votes – and give her a victory and seat on the commission. The Buncombe County Board of Elections denied this claim, but the candidate is appealing to the State Board of Elections, which will likely hear the case early next week. It’s another example of politicians manipulating the election system to advance their personal or partisan goals, even if it means sacrificing legitimate voters. Note the lead-off in the LOD news article where the students are even being accused of committing voter fraud!