Kathleen Campbell, the lone Democrat on the Watauga County Board of Elections, has submitted her complaint about the majority Republican plan for Early Voting in Watauga County, along with her own alternative plan. Her argument is supported by many exhibits, including maps and demographic information about the county. A hearing to determine which plan will prevail will be held before the State Board of Elections this coming Monday in Cary, 4 p.m., at the Cary Embassy Suites.
Bottomline: Campbell's Early Voting plan restores Early Voting on the campus of Appalachian State University and also places Early Voting polls at the Board of Elections, Boone Town Hall, Meat Camp VFD, Blowing Rock Town Hall, and the Western Watauga Community Center. Campbell's plan also does away with the sheer stupidity of closing all Early Voting at 4 p.m. each day, extending the hours into the evening for the convenience of working people. Plus Campbell presents ample evidence that her plan will actually cost less than the Aceto plan. Campbell's argument accuses the Aceto Plan of voter suppression against young voters, non-white voters, urban/suburban voters, and Democratic and Unaffiliated voters.
In making the argument for a polling place on the ASU campus, Campbell maintains that the Republican/Aceto plan deliberately discriminates against 18- to 21-year-olds, which you cannot do, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. In United States v. State of Texas (1978, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in the landmark Symm v. U.S., 1979), this crucial point was made about "fencing" off young voters from the opportunity to vote:
…forcing young voters to undertake special burdens -- obtaining absentee ballots, or traveling to one centralized location in each city, for example -- in order to exercise their right to vote might well serve to dissuade them from participating in the election. This result and the election procedures that create it, are at least inconsistent with the purpose of the Voting Rights Act, which sought to encourage greater political participation on the part of the young, such segregation might even amount to a denial of their 14th Amendment right to equal protection of the laws.
There is not one sentient being in Watauga County who does not understand that the Republican agenda since last August has been the active discouragement of voting by ASU students. Campbell's argument to the State Board of Elections exposes that discrimination with great clarity and convincing detail.
There's a great deal more in Campbell's Early Voting submission, which we'll continue to unpack as we approach next Monday's hearing. The full document and all the exhibits are linked above for your own leisure reading.