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Early Voting for Municipals Begins Thursday, Latest Court Order: No Early Voting at App State Campus

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article included App State as a one-stop site for Watauga County. However, shortly after that article was published, Watauga County Elections Director Matt Snyder called and said that he was just alerted that a court order is staying a previous order that allowed a one-stop site at App State.

By Jesse Wood

Early voting in the 2017 municipal elections begins on Thursday, Oct. 19.

As it stands on Wednesday afternoon, both Watauga County and Avery County will have one early voting site for the municipal elections. Both will be located in the elections offices in the courthouses of those respective counties.

The schedule of voting hours for the one-stop sites in Watauga are as follows:

Elections Office in Watauga County Courthouse

The hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct 19-20; 23-27; 30-31 and Nov 1-3. The last day on Saturday, Nov. 4 features hours from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Watauga County Elections Director Matt Snyder said that voters in the Blowing Rock, Boone, Seven Devils and Beech Mountain municipalities can vote and same-day register at one-stop site in the Watauga County Courthouse.

In Avery County, one-stop voting takes place only inside the elections office in the Avery County Courthouse.

Elections Office in Avery County Courthouse

The hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 19-20, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30 – Nov. 3. The hours on Saturday, Nov. 4 are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

No Early Voting at App State in 2017 Municipals?

Like in previous elections, the battle over a one-stop site at Appalachian State University is being fought in the court system at the last minute. This afternoon with less than a day before early voting begins, Snyder said that he received notification, around lunchtime on Wednesday, that there will not be a one-stop site at App State – unless there is another last-minute court order.

“About an hour or so ago, the courts said no and put a hold on that last order,” Snyder said. “We will not have a one-stop voting site on the campus of ASU based on the stay issued this morning.”

Last week, a Wake County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of a one-stop voting site at Appalachian State, as reported by the Watauga Democrat. This occurred after Democrat Stella Anderson, one of the three members on the Watauga County Board of Election, petitioned for an alternate one-stop plan.

When a one-stop plan vote isn’t unanimous, the decision is passed on to the State Board of Elections – if board members petition alternate plans. In September, Anderson and Republican Nancy Owen voted for a one-stop site on the college campus, while Republican Bill Aceto didn’t vote for early voting at App State. 

Currently, the State Board of Elections is in limbo because of a elections-related lawsuit between Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican legislative leaders. So, Anderson’s petition went before the courts instead of the state board. 

As Snyder said, last week’s order from the Wake County judge was stayed Wednesday. He also noted that there is a possibility that another legal action is taken, though he clarified that he didn’t know to what extent.”  

“I think there is room for actions to be taken,” Snyder said. “What those are I don’t know.” 

That would have to happen quickly because one-stop voting begins at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Before the stay was announced, early voting was planned to take place in the Blue Ridge Ballroom in App State’s Plemmons Student Union from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 26-27 and Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. That’s no longer the case unless something changes again.

See the sample ballots for each municipal election Watauga County and Avery County below.

For more information about the upcoming election, click to the Watauga County Board of Elections or call 828-265-8061; click to Avery County Board of Elections or call 828-733-8282.