COVID cleaned out North Carolina’s college campuses. That has electoral consequences.

Chloe Arrojado can come and go from her dormitory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill without seeing a single soul.

No one is canvassing, distributing campaign materials, or loudly pontificating in the Pit, a brick courtyard that serves as the university’s “town square.” There, partisan speakers often shout their opinions; conservative preachers sometimes thunder on about sin; and student groups stage rallies, bake sales, and the occasional condom giveaway. Or they register voters, which is what Arrojado, a 23-year-old senior journalism major from Concord, North Carolina, remembers from the 2016 presidential election.

“I couldn’t walk out the door without someone telling me to vote, trying to register me,” she said.


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