By Jesse Wood
Bill Aceto and Nancy Owen, Republican members on the three-member Watauga County Board of Elections, each drafted a letter to App State Chancellor Sheri Everts in an attempt to persuade the university to allow Legends as the campus’ early voting site.
Last week, the State Board of Elections in a 3-2 vote decided to let Appalachian State University decide the partisan conflict over whether to utilize Legends or the Plemmons Student Union as an early voting site on campus.
If ASU doesn’t agree to Legends by today at 5 p.m., the polling site automatically reverts to Plemmons Student Union during the early voting period of the general election. Early voting starts in late October.
The State Board of Elections is tasked with adopting plans when local elections board don’t approve a unanimous plan, or in Watauga County’s unprecedented case, doesn’t even vote on a plan at all for lack of motions.
Due to the Fourth Circuit of Appeals ruling that struck down the Voter ID law, the SBOE directed local boards to go back and consider plans that include the hours and sites for the the extra week of early voting, so the Watauga County Board of Elections went back to the drawing board … and came up empty.
In July, Owen sided with Aceto in favor of Legends. In August, however, Owen decided not to second a motion by Aceto that favored Legends, and she didn’t attend the State Board of Elections meeting scheduled to address this item last week. But now she is advocating for Legends again in a letter to Everts.
See both letters from Aceto and Owen below.
The letters were obtained in a request from Watauga County Board of Elections Director Matt Snyder. It’s unclear yet if Democrat Stella Anderson drafted a letter to Everts in support of Plemmons Student Union. Snyder didn’t have a copy and Anderson didn’t immediately respond to an email on Tuesday.
Everts is already on record favoring Plemmons Student Union: “Plemmons Student Union is the only location on campus that satisfies our mutual goals of providing a convenient and safe environment for citizens and volunteers in compliance with statutory requirements for elections.”
Matthew Dockham, director of external affairs and community relations, for App State issued this statement on Friday: “University officials are reviewing the State Board’s decision and continuing discussion of the county board’s proposal with county officials. We expect to make a decision on or before next Tuesday.”
For more background and stories on the Watauga County Board of Elections, click here.
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