“Whenever there’s more regulation, voters in general are less motivated to vote,” she said. “It’s very discouraging, and they’re doing it on purpose, I believe, to counteract the strong college vote.”
But Greg Steele, chairman of the N.C. Federation of College Republicans, said he doesn’t think the bill will deter students from voting.
“There’s nothing in the bill that says you can’t vote absentee,” Steele said. “It’s important to vote where you’re paying taxes and where you are invested in the community.”
Steele said he thinks the bill could redistribute votes, but won’t affect results in statewide or national elections.
He said the bill would also help students invest in their home communities.
“This bill incentivizes people to become a part of their home community and have their voices represented in the place where their tax dollars are coming from,” Steele said. “I look at it as a great opportunity.”
Chapel Hill Town Council member Lee Storrow disagreed, arguing that the new rules would impose unnecessary voting barriers on students.
“The specifics of the bill would be that we would increase taxes on the middle class if parents were no longer able to claim students as dependents,” he said.
He said he thinks the bill would reduce the amount of students voting in general.
“We have already seen recent efforts to restrict early voting,” he said. “This is just part of a systematic strategy to restrict North Carolina voters from going to the polls, targeting people who tend to vote Democratic.”
Tracy Reams, director of the Orange County Board of Elections, said 12,806 people between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in the November 2012 election — making up nearly 17 percent of the county’s total voters.
“The bill won’t affect their ability to vote, but the ability of the parent to claim them on their taxes,” Reams said. “It’s up to students whether they register at home or vote here in Orange County.”
The bill would also require that a voter’s vehicle registration address and voter registration address be the same within 60 days of the bill taking effect.
If passed, the bill would go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
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