The scene today at NC BOE meeting

Who knew that sitting in on a State Board of Elections meeting in Raleigh would turn out to be a great way to start September in North Carolina!

I only made it into the over-flow room for the hearing, as the main room was packed. I got in the door courtesy of my Mayor, Mark Chilton, who was also there to witness the hearing on whether or not Montravias King would be allowed to run for pubic office in Elizabeth City.

The setting reminded me of one of those great 1930’s courtroom dramas set in the South. Despite air conditioning, the room was hot. Men in suits were sweating while women in dresses (and pants and shorts) glistened. Little relief was offered by the many fans brought in by staff to move the air around. As a group, it seemed to represent every demographic NC has to offer, young, old, men, women, business owners and unemployed, long-time activists with the newly awakened.

All were glued to the projected image of what was happening in the adjacent room and struggling to understand the audio, which was sometimes too soft for any ears to comprehend.

Testimony went on for over 80 minutes. An attorney for Montravias King presented multiple examples of paperwork showing his living abode, offering that his personal momentoes now lived with him in Elizabeth City and no longer resided with his family in Snow Hill. Questions were asked regarding what address pay checks had been mailed to, where were his yearly tax forms mailed, did he have a library card or fishing license?

Two members of the Pasquotank Board of Elections were also there. State BOE members questioned them on how their decision could be reconciled with law and statutes. When it was mentioned that the residency administrator and a vice chancellor of the college had testified that dorms were temporary residences, a State BOE members asked if those two gentlemen were certified in NC election law. Stifled laughs were heard around the room. I’ve got to say that while some of the answers did not really make sense, neither did some of the questions. I began to feel there might be bias on the part of some of those asking questions.

Finally, each State BOE member made a few comments and called for a motion to rescind the decision made by the Pasquotank BOE. It was unanimous! The ayes had it!

Montravias King can now run for public office as a college student living in a college dorm. The crowd erupted in cheers, applause and happiness. Strangers turned to congratulate each other and the media descended for interviews. Someone exclaimed, “Justice is alive in North Carolina!”

Now, about Watauga ...


Just got back from there

I saw folks I recognized from Elizabeth City, New Bern, and even Snow Hill, so eastern NC was really out in force to show support for his right to run. Here are a few photos from the scene:

Youth rally outside:

Hearing room:

Overflow room:

I couldn't stay in the hearing room because it was too full, and then gave up my seat in the overflow room to let students in who had come a long distance to be there, and even eventually had to give up my seat in the lobby (where the only way to watch it was on smartphones using the wral live stream). Even outside there were still people trying to watch and show their support for his right to run.

I think turnout helped make a difference. I don't know that the Pasquotank County BOE or State BOE were ready for this kind of attention or turnout. But with the voter suppression laws that are going to start phasing in over the next several years, we're really going to have to keep an eye on the counties and be ready to show up in force at the State BOE.


Nicely written, Vicki and Jake, and thank you for your reportage on behalf of those of us who couldn't be there.

Vicki, you referred to a possible bias on the part of those asking questions; would you care to elaborate on that?

Great news!

Great news!

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Alan, the way some of the

Alan, the way some of the questions were worded seemed to imply a request for more and more and more documentation to prove Mr. King was a resident of Elizabeth City. There were questions as to whether or not he had done a change of address on his driver's license in a timely manner and that because it happened later rather than sooner it brought his motives into suspect. I really did not expect the vote to go in his favor.

"additional questions"

I think some of the questioning may have tipped the hand for future moves to disqualify students .... especially the questions on "tax forms" and "paychecks'...... Just for clarification I think someone should make it crystal clear that residency and domicile don't dictate where mail is directed....MANY businesspeople for instance direct mail AWAY from THEIR residences .......... I don't think we've seen the last of GOP attempts to "challenge" students - now - or at the polls....

And I just can't wait to see what happens to the Boone Precinct change case ....

The Boone Precinct change was

The Boone Precinct change was ruled valid in a split vote. I'm assuming it was 3-2.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Boone Precinct Change clarification

I understood that the only Watauga County issue the SBOE ruled on was the early voting site, in which SBOE upheld the Watauga BOE decision.

The "super precinct" question was not addressed by SBOE, as the Watauga BOE chair indicated that his board was reconsidering that decision in a meeting scheduled for tomorrow (9/4). I contend that the SBOE should have ruled on that matter today, as the Watauga chair's promise cannot be the official position of his board without a board meeting.

Is there a guarantee that the Watauga board will reverse its earlier decision on the super precinct? Call me paranoid, but it is not beyond the pale to suggest that the Watauga chair could have a change of heart on the way from Raleigh to Boone, especially if the pope has his phone number.


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Watauga Watch has a

Watauga Watch has a descriptive assessment of members of the State BOE and includes some more comments from yesterday's hearing. Worth a read.