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Students in UNCW dorms may face issue at New Hanover Co. polls

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — College students may run into some trouble voting in New Hanover County this year.

The county Democratic Party chair says students who live in dorms at UNCW may be turned away if they do not know the exact address of their building.

Every voter that checks in at the poll must provide their name and address, but New Hanover County Democratic Party Chair Richard Poole says that might be difficult if you live in a dorm.

“Typically students who live in dormitories know what dorm they live in, but in many cases they don’t know the street address, because they never need it,” Poole said.

That is why Poole says they have provided the New Hanover County Board of Elections with a list of all of the dorms at UNCW.

“The local Board of Elections here in New Hanover County received guidance on the 21st of October before Early Voting started that told them they should assist students where they can in other words if they have a list of students addresses they should use it,” Poole said. “So they are out of compliance with the interpretation of state Board of Elections statute.”

But New Hanover County Elections Director Marvin McFadyen says they would never turn away any voter.

“There would be two options,” McFadyen said. “One, they could leave and go find out that information and return. Number two would be to fill out a provisional ballot.”

But Poole says the board then gets to decides whether that vote counts. He says it could hurt the turnout.

“Some student voters may leave. Some voters may cast provisional ballots that may not be counted,” Poole said, “and every vote counts, and we think especially it’s important for students to begin the habits that will make them into a lifetime voter.”

The New Hanover County Board of Elections may discuss the dorm issue at its meeting tomorrow at 5 p.m.

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