Dear State Board of Elections,
My name is xxxxx xxxxxxx. I live in western Watauga Country about 8 miles from Boone at xxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxx Road. First, I want to thank you very much for seeking public input from the residents and voters of North Carolina. Second, I want to say how important it is for us to have one stop voting sites that are used by a majority of voters. Basing decisions on facts and voting data rather than partisan politics is also incredibly important.
I am an independent. I am neither a Republican or a Democrat. The facts are very clear. The Student Union at Appalachian State University has been used by more voters than any other site in the entirety of Watauga County. That makes it the obvious choice to: 1) be the preferred one stop site and 2) make it available for voting for as many days and hours as possible in order to cut down on long wait times.
I know many of you who don't live in Watauga County have never been to the small hole in the wall of a dive bar that is Legends. The roof leaks and it smells like a combination of beer, vomit and black mold. The Chancellor of Appalachian State University has very responsibly shown leadership by saying it is not structurally sufficient nor is it big enough to hold large numbers of early voters. Despite this very clear communication from the top representative of the institution who owns Legends, the illogically partisan chair of the Watauga Board of Elections, Bill Aceto, very stubbornly continued to insist that this inappropriate location be the preferred one stop site. Some parents and grandparents take their kids and grandkids with them to vote because they can't afford childcare and/or they want to show the next generation how important it is to vote. The Student Union is much more appropriate for families with kids than a stinky, run down bar.
In exasperation with Mr. Aceto's refusal to be reasonable and agree that the Student Union is the most logical one stop site, I finally went to speak in person at the last Watauga County Board of Elections meeting. It was the first time in my life I have ever attended a Board of Elections meeting. I respectfully called on the Board to practice the courtesy and kindness of providing open, free and fair elections to as many Watauga County voters as possible. I pleaded with them to have a robust early voting plan that would prevent us from standing in long lines on election day. But my plea was all for naught. Mr. Aceto was clearly more interested in being an obstructionist than serving the voters of Watauga County.
So now I have to make my plea to all of you. I hope with all my heart that you will allow reason and logic to prevail. As a grandmother and voter for....well let's just say more than 30 years.....I am sick to death of partisan manipulation of the voting process for political reasons. Voting should be sacrosanct from politics. Every American who is legally entitled to vote should be allowed to vote in a warm, dry location that is convenient. Those of us who aren't as mobile as we once were and whose joints ache when the weather turns, should not be made to stand in long lines outside on election day. It is just plain cruel and mean to treat us with such cavalier disregard.
Please take it from a gray haired old Watauga County grandmother, we need all the early voting sites that we had in the March primary. There will be many more voters on election day in November than there were in the March primaries. We need all those same early voting sites with extended hours plus the ASU student Union to adequately serve all the voters of Watauga County. That is what will keep us from having to wait in super long lines in the cold and often misty and rainy mountains.
Lastly, I want to say that the raw partisanship of Bill Aceto has badly shaken my faith. I want to believe that there are good people on Boards of Elections across the state of NC who genuinely serve with the greater public interest in their hearts and minds. Providing all the early voting sites that we had in the March primaries will go a long way towards restoring my faith that there are indeed fair minded people serving at the state board of elections who put logic, data and the needs of the voters first rather than a political agenda to suppress votes by making it difficult for certain populations to vote. Please remember us - the voters - the young and able as well as the old and infirm. And all the people in between. Just let us vote freely and fairly. Let us exercise our constitutional right to vote by providing us with as many options as legally permissible so we can do our civic duty as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thank you so much for taking the time to consider the input of the voters. We anxiously await your decision. I hope you will restore my faith in the Board of Elections.
xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx