By Jesse Wood
Oct. 18, 2013. On Thursday afternoon, three local Democrats – Jesse Presnell, Stella Anderson and Ian O’Keefe – filed a petition requesting that the State Board of Elections conduct a hearing for the removal of two Republican members of the Watauga County Board of Elections and issue subpoenas to Watauga Attorney Four Eggers, Watauga Republican Party Chair Anne-Marie Yates, Watauga Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges and Watauga Clerk of Court of Court Diane Deal – among others – for the hearing.
This comes nearly two weeks after the trio filed a formal complaint with the SBOE for the removal of Chair Luke Eggers and Secretary Bill Aceto from the Watauga County Board of Elections. Days after the complaint was filed on Oct. 8, Aceto filed his response requesting that the SBOE “summarily dismiss” the complaint.
At the time, Aceto said, “The complaint is obviously very partisan and [from] a small group of local democrats [that] are unhappy,”
The most recent petition filed on Thursday states:
“We are aware that the rules of the Board allow it to consider a case on affidavits, but in a case such as this, involving a systematic and widespread abuse of authority, we believe that such a process is wholly inadequate and that the Board cannot get a clear picture of the circumstances leading to the petition without a full hearing with key witnesses present who can testify under oath. In addition, there are several people with material information who cannot provide affidavits. In particular, Jane Ann Hodges, the Director of Watauga County Board of Elections has essentially been threatened with dismissal if she provides information other than that permitted by Mr. Aceto and Mr. Eggers’ newly adopted description of her duties, one of the items about which we have complained.”
Click the links above to read the original petition and Aceto’s response. Click here for a list of articles providing background on the conflicts regarding the Watauga County Board of Elections.
Scroll below to read the most recent petition in its entirety.