Our democracy works best when all voices can be heard. However, the current layout of Chapel Hill's polling places makes it difficult for UNC students to exercise their right to vote. For example, many students living on South Campus are currently assigned to the Chapel Hill Kehillah polling place; a 15-20 minute walk from South Campus, the Kehillah's location is unfamiliar to most students — but especially to first-years. A lack of reliable transport compounds these issues, since many underclassmen are without cars on campus.
Therefore, the North Carolina Public Interest Research Group advocates for the establishment of an on-campus polling place at UNC-Chapel Hill for early-voting and Election Day. UNC had an early-voting polling place at Chase Dining Hall, with a curbside voting station in Rams Head Parking Deck, during the 2012-2014 election cycles — precedent exists for this proposal. In addition, UNC can look to N.C. State as a model. N.C. State’s Talley Student Union became an early voting site for the 2018 midterms (the first since 2012).
Thus, NCPIRG is calling on UNC administration and Student Government to stand in favor of an on-campus polling place at UNC-Chapel Hill at a central location like the Student Union. Once the University is on board, we can encourage the Orange County Board of Elections to take action and establish an on-campus voting location for the next election cycle. By bringing a polling place back on campus, students will more easily be able to participate in the electoral process.
Class of 2019