By Jesse Wood
July 22, 2014. The Watauga County Board of Elections will meet on Wednesday, July 23, to discuss the one-stop implementation plan for the general election in November. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. on the top floor in Watauga County Courthouse on King Street.
Whenever the board met in August 2013 to discuss one-stop sites for the general election last November, boos and chants filled the meeting room as liberals were displeased with the decisions made by the Republican-led board – especially the one to do away with a one-stop polling place on Appalachian State University. Read all about that meeting here.
Asked if the one-stop precincts may differentiate or remain similar to the proposals that passed for the last general election, Republican Chair Luke Eggers said he hasn’t had time yet to look into options because the second primary is underway. Eggers also added that he “up for any suggestions.”
And there will probably be a few.
The Watauga County Voting Rights Task Force, which is an arm of the Watauga County Democratic Party, noted that it has retained the services of Bailey & Dixon law firm in Raleigh to “represent our constitutional rights in the siting of Watauga’s polling locations for the 2014 general elections,” according to a letter penned by Pam Williamson.
“The Watauga and State Boards of Elections have the opportunity to get it right this time for the upcoming November elections. But if the State Board of Elections rubber-stamps discrimination and voter suppression for Watauga County this go-round, we will begin a legal appeal of their decision to the next level,” the letter reads.
Along with trying to raise $10,000 for this cause, Williamson writes, “We will suit up and take our banner into battle at the Watauga County Board of Elections meeting on Wednesday, July 23, 5 p.m. at the Commissioners Board Room (in the administration building right beside the courthouse). Bring a friend and your signs to advocate for a polling site in the ASU Student Union.”
While Eggers hasn’t thought too far in advance, his fellow Republican board member, Secretary Bill Aceto, doesn’t see many changes on the horizon.
While noting the State Board of Elections’ bipartisan support of past moves by the Watauga County Board of Elections, Republican Secretary Bill Aceto said that the only thing likely to change from the 2013 plans is the hours of operation at the polling sites.
“I don’t necessarily see the locations changing,” Aceto said. “I think all of our polling places were very well received from speaking to folks in the community and I also think it’s important to be consistent, so community members know where to go vote. Hopefully that will increase turnout over time.”
The Watauga County Board of Elections must turn in its proposal to the State Board of Elections by July 30.