Editor’s Note: On Friday, the GOP-led Watauga County Board of Elections held another vote to nominate former Watauga County GOP chair Matthew Snyder to be the next elections director in the county.
Eggers and Aceto teleconferenced in to the meeting they scheduled.
The meeting was initially scheduled to approve meeting minutes, which was the only agenda item for Friday’s meeting. After approving a set of minutes and without amending the agenda, Chair Luke Eggers and Sec. Bill Aceto, the two Republicans on the board, voted again on hiring Snyder because of procedural concerns regarding the initial vote to nominate Snyder.
The vote was 2-1 with Democrat Kathleen Campbell in opposition. State Board of Elections Director Kim Strach still must approve of the nomination to make the appointment official.
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Elections Board To Hold Special Meeting Friday To Keep Clock Running on Snyder’s Nomination
By Jesse Wood
The Watauga County Board of Elections is holding a special meeting on Friday, April 17, at 5 p.m. to approve meeting minutes from the April 1st meeting, when the Republican majority nominated former Watauga County GOP Chair Matt Snyder to replace Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges, who is retiring at the end of June.
The meeting takes place in the elections office inside the courthouse on King Street.
In her 30-year career at the helm of local elections, this is the first time that Hodges can recall holding a special meeting to approve meeting minutes, which is the only item on the agenda. Meeting minutes are typically approved or modified at the next regular meeting at the first of each month.
But as Secretary Bill Aceto, one of the two Republicans on the board, said, State Board of Elections Director Kim Strach needs the “official actions of the board in order” to appoint Snyder.
Earlier in the month, Strach’s office received letters and phone calls, including from Democrat Board Member Kathleen Campbell, concerning the validity of Snyder’s nomination.
On recordings of the meeting, it appeared that the board voted on calling the question as opposed to Snyder’s actual nomination. The day after the meeting, a State Board of Elections spokesman said that his office had received numerous communications on this issue and that Strach would review video and minutes of the meeting to verify the nomination.
“I think some folks had concerns about the vote, but there was no question about the intent of the vote,” Aceto said.
For the Republicans, time is of the essence as the clock started ticking as soon as Chair Luke Eggers, the other Republican, sent in Snyder’s nomination letter to Strach on April 9.
Strach has 10 days to either approve or deny Snyder’s nomination from the receipt of the letter on April 9.
Included in the packet that Eggers sent Strach is a nomination letter, Hodge’s letter of retirement and an initial set of minutes that look curiously different from the revised set of minutes that the board will vote on tonight.
The first set of minutes read, “Secretary Aceto called the question and Chairman Eggers ruled Aceto out of order and added additional remarks about his support for Matt Snyder.” Then the vote to appoint Snyder was called and taken.
The revised set of minutes read, “Secretary Aceto asked to call the question. The call of the question did not receive a second. Chairman Eggers made additional remarks about his support for Matt Snyder.” Then the vote to appoint Snyder was called and taken.
Asked about these revisions, Aceto simply said that for the “sake of clarity” he revised the minutes after watching the video of the entire meeting that that HCPress.com recorded.
Aceto said that the “beauty” of draft minutes is that you can revise.
Aceto added that he is looking forward to the end of all of this talk about Snyder’s nomination and so forth. He’s looking forward to the days when Snyder is in office.
“We are very close to that,” Aceto said. “Unfortunately, we are back at this position today to clarify meeting minutes.”
Both Aceto and Eggers won’t be present at the meeting due to prior engagements.
Campbell said she was planning to go to the meeting. She will likely have plenty to say.
Take a look at the documents – which include the nomination packet and the revised minutes – below:
For more background about these contentious elections meetings, click here.