Students can register to vote in Robeson County
By Susan Walley
Senior Staff Writer
It may come as a surprise that UNCP exists almost entirely outside of the town of Pembroke.
Included within the town limits are the Belk Athletic Complex, as well as a small segment of campus along Odum Road.
Excluded from the town are all residence halls.
Additionally, only the Pembroke Commons and Pembroke Pointe apartment complexes fall within Pembroke’s town limits.
Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, explained that from an administrative perspective, the main effect of this is that Pembroke Police do not respond to the campus.
The Department of Police and Public Safety have a reciprocal agreement in place with the Pembroke Police Department in which they have agreed to assist the other if instances arise where such assistance is needed.
The most substantial impact of being located outside of the town is the ineligibility for students to vote on city issues.
“Our student body is larger than the city, so if the students could vote they could have a major impact,” said Dr. Jones.
Currently, students residing in residence halls, the University Village, Courtyard, or Pembroke Place apartments may register to vote in Robeson County but will be ineligible to participate in town elections.
Dock Locklear, director of the Robeson County Board of Elections, explained that many students are not aware of the process of transferring voter registration.
Even students residing on campus and lacking a traditional address may choose to move their registration to Robeson County.
The N.C. General Assembly, addressing the issue of student residency for the purposes of voter registration, clarified that a student may claim their college community as their home so long as they have no intent of returning to their former home after graduation, regardless of whether they intend to remain in the school’s community after graduation.
Legislation also specifies that in determining residency for registration purposes, a person must have resided in the community for at least 30 days prior to the election.
Locklear clarified that being removed from the college community over the winter and summer breaks will not affect a student’s eligibility to participate in elections.
If a student registered elsewhere wishes to become a registered voter of Robeson County, they can change their registration.
Many students are unsuccessful in their attempts to do this as they do not cancel their previous registration, according to Locklear.
All applications for registration are checked for duplicates, Locklear explained.
Pembroke election results
According to the Board of Elections, in a vote of 4,582 to 3,260, residents rejected a quarter of a cent hike in sales tax.
The board also said incumbent Milton Hunt secured another term as mayor.