Early voting site to be open at University Center through May 3

The Jackson County Board of Elections will operate a one-stop early voting site for statewide primaries at Western Carolina University beginning Thursday, April 19.

Early voting will take place weekdays in the Multipurpose Room of A.K. Hinds University Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Thursday, May 3. Anyone already registered in Jackson County will be able to vote at the WCU site. Disabled and mobility-impaired persons will have access to curbside voting services.

Voter registration also will be available, with newly registered voters able to immediately cast ballots in a process known as same-day registration. College students in North Carolina may register and vote in the county where they are attending college. Students living on campus may register by bringing their student ID, and a poll worker will confirm their campus address. Students living off-campus should bring a utility bill with their current address or a state-issued ID with their current address, such as a driver’s license.

“To help inform the community on the importance of participating in American freedoms by voting, we’ve scheduled a ‘Democracy Day’ event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, April 23, at the Alumni Tower,” said Lane Perry, director of WCU’s Center for Service Learning. “Candidates for office will be invited to attend and there will be info booths and fun activities, plus free hot dogs ― another American staple. ‘Democracy Day’ as an outdoors event is weather contingent, however.”

Efforts to establish a campus polling place were led by WCU’s Student Democracy Coalition and the Center for Service Learning, with additional support from the Campus Vote Project and the Andrew Goodman Foundation, national nonpartisan campaigns that work to remove barriers to voting on college campuses and advocate for broader access to voter registration and the voting process. WCU students, faculty and staff were involved in the planning process.

“In addition to learning about voting practices at ‘Democracy Day,’ student voters and potential voters can get more information at vote.wcu.edu,” said Hannah Fraser, a WCU Student Government Association senator, Andrew Goodman Foundation Fellow and Student Democracy Coalition member who is assisting in the early voting efforts.