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LETTERS / GOP Engages in ‘Partisan, Calculated & Concerted’ Effort Challenging 9 Ballots

The leadership of the Watauga County Republican Party has challenged the constitutional rights of eight Democratic and Unaffiliated Watauga County voters who cast ballots in the November 8th elections.

These eight voters appeared in person during the Watauga early voting period to register and vote on the same day. The election judges at the site approved their completed state voter registration forms and their state-required documentation of proof of residency before allowing them to cast their ballots.

Those who have challenged these voters’ constitutional right to vote assert that these eight voters cast fraudulent ballots because their “voter verification cards” were returned as undeliverable since the voter had not included his/her mailing address on the registration form. State voter registration forms do not require a mailing address for a valid registration.

On or about November 5th, Kelsey Wright (past Chair of the ASU college Republicans) submitted a public records request for copies of verification cards that had been returned to the elections board as undeliverable from voters who cast one-stop ballots.

The next day, Wright called the Watauga Board of Elections and asked that the list she requested be sent to Anne Marie Yates (Chairwoman of the Watauga Republican Party) instead of to her.

Nine names were provided to Yates as having verification cards returned. All were Democrats except for one Unaffiliated voter and one Republican.

On November 8th, seven Republicans appeared before a notary with the Miller & Johnson, PLLC, law firm (a law firm in which Nathan A. Miller, the Vice Chair of the local Republican Party, is a Partner). The notary signed and witnessed their “Notices of Challenge.” The Republican voter whose verification card had been returned was not challenged.

The names of the Challengers who disputed the constitutional voting rights of these eight voters are a matter of public record: Kelsey Lauren Crum Wright, Linda D. Byrd, Kim Brackett, Richard Lee Woods, Mark Templeton, James Marshall Lawrence, and Elizabeth M. Rupp.

State law requires that the eight voters who were challenged be notified that their right to vote has been officially called into question and that they have a right to be heard at the local Board of Elections meeting on November 18th. The state requirement for notification to these voters is “achieved” by mailing them a notice of that challenge to the same address that has already been determined as “undeliverable.”

The Voting Rights Task Force is certain that since the Challengers feel so passionately about the integrity of the vote, each will attend the Nov. 18 hearing to explain under oath:

(1) Why they decided to challenge the constitutional rights of the particular voter they singled out to contest;

(2) Why and how they acted in a coordinated fashion to challenge these voters; and

(3) Why, considering their significant concerns with voter integrity, they decided not to challenge the Republican whose verification card was also returned as undeliverable.

The Watauga County Voting Rights Taskforce is attempting to personally contact those who have been challenged to tell them their rights to the Nov. 18 hearing, offer them representation at that hearing, and let them know that under state law, any person who knowingly makes a false allegation against their right to vote can be found guilty of a Class I felony.

In the meantime, we call on the Watauga County Elections Board to see these challenges for what they are: a partisan, calculated and concerted effort to violate the constitutional voting rights of fellow Americans.

Pam Williamson

On behalf of the Watauga County Voting Rights Taskforce