By Jesse Wood
July 16, 2013. Two new members of the Watauga County Board of Elections were sworn in on Tuesday. Judge Ted McEntire swore in Kathleen Campbell, a Democrat, and Bill Aceto, a Republican.
The third and final member appointed by State Board of Elections, however, was absent. Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges said she was notified yesterday that Jim Hastings, a Republican, had declined to accept the post. Hodges added that she didn’t know the reasons of that decision. Hastings couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
With the 2013 municipal election season underway and with new members scheduled to attend a workshop in late August, Hodges said the process to appoint a new member will start immediately with Watauga County GOP Chairwoman Anne-Marie Yates recommending candidates to the state GOP, which will then forward the nominees to Gov. Pat McCrory, who will then send his acceptions to the State Board of Elections to finalize an appointment.
Since the full board wasn’t present, the board did not vote on officers nor did it set up its monthly meeting times and dates.
The board, however, did vote on new voter registrations pending review, i.e., are the registrants Watauga County residents; U.S. citizens; over the age of 18? etc. Campbell motioned to accept that the registrations be reviewed. Aceto didn’t not second the motion, so it did for lack of a second.
“This is not controversial,” Campbell said of the routine action that occurs at each monthly meeting.
After the meeting, Aceto said he wanted to wait until the full board was present before making any votes.
On the note of being selected, he said he was “excited to serve” on the elections board to see the democratic process through with “fair and balanced” elections in Watauga County.
Campbell said she was “pleased and honored” to become a board member.
“Nothing could be more important in a democracy than to make sure that every American citizen who wants to has the opportunity to vote. I will do my best to make that happen and will be a strong advocate for the voting rights of all the people,” Campbell said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to working, over the next two years, with my Republican colleages on the board and with our excellent elections Board Director and staff.”