By Jesse Wood
March 5, 2014. The Watauga County Board of Elections meets at 5 p.m. on Wednesday to decide on early-voting locations for the 2014 primary in May. The board will also vote to add a public comment section at the end of each meeting.
As of Wednesday afternoon, only Secretary Bill Aceto, one of the two Republicans on the three-member board, has submitted early-voting resolutions to Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges. Aceto’s proposal consists of early voting sites at:
- Watauga County Administration Building in downtown Boone
- Western Watauga Community Center in Sugar Grove
- Blowing Rock Town Hall
- Deep Gap Fire Department
- Meat Camp Fire Department
The proposed hours of operation for each of the five sites are:
- Thursday, April 24 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Friday, April 25 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Monday, April 28 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, April 29 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Wednesday, April 30 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Thursday, May 1 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Friday, May 2 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, May 3 – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At a drop-in session for the public to discuss one-stop proposals with the board a couple weeks ago, Hodges noted that a new law requires counties to provide the same cumulative total number of early voting hours offered in the May 2010 primary for 2014 and that the county will have one less week of early voting to meet those hour demands.
Hodges said the board would have to extend sites out in the county to meet those hour demands.
At the drop-in session and at its regularly-scheduled February meeting, many folks voiced their preference on having a early voting on the campus of Appalachian State University in the Plemmons Student Union.
For the November election in 2013, Aceto and Chair Luke Eggers, the other Republican on the board, eliminated early voting on campus to the dismay of many, including liberal TV host Rachel Maddow, who shined the national spotlight on Watauga County. For the upcoming primary, it looks like Aceto and Eggers will maintain that stance.
Eggers and Democrat Kathleen Campbell are also expected to bring to the table their own one-stop proposals on Wednesday. Earlier today, Campbell said she was still preparing her one-stop resolution. In a preliminary proposal at the February meeting, Campbell spread out proposed one-stop sites in the county as did Aceto. Yet unlike Aceto, she also had an early-voting site on the campus of ASU and one at Boone Town Hall to serve the population center of the county. See more on her preliminary proposal here.
Eggers didn’t respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
Eggers did submit a resolution to Hodges to amend the public comment process, something that Campbell and citizens vocalized at the last February meeting. Citizens currently can only submit comments to the board in writing.
If the public comment resolution passes on Wednesday, citizens will have up to two minutes to speak to the board. The public comment period will last for a total of 30 minutes at the end of each meeting.
For more information, read prior stories on the Watauga County Board of Elections:
And to see a list of stories prior to 2014, click here.