Received these observations from someone at the hearing yesterday:
Watauga Board of Elections Chair Luke Eggers ... nowhere in sight. He's ceded his position to the other Republican member, Bill Aceto.
Bill Aceto claimed that, in his mind, an Early Voting polling site in the ASU Student Union is unacceptable, that no election can be lawfully conducted at the Student Union because of "all those entrances" the board can't control and the voluminous reports of problems with the buffers, which they can't possibly manage. Board of Elections Shadow Chair, County Attorney Four Eggers, should know from his past Board service that there were zero actual complaints/reports of such problems. Bill Aceto should have known that too. State Board of Elections member Josh Malcolm took Aceto to task for that claim, calling it "disingenuous, at best."
Josh Malcolm also took Aceto to task for standing before the State Board of Elections apparently asserting that his Early Voting plan duplicated from the May Primary couldn't possibly be improved "for the benefit of voters." Aceto's chosen Early Voting sites in the May Primary proved extraordinarily inefficient. Costs per voter were 4 times the cost at the courthouse site. But Aceto could recognize "no improvements" to be made.
Republican State Board member Paul Foley claimed that if there were a need for any other Early Voting site, it would be at the "urban" Beech Mountain precinct (with a 2012 population of 319 persons) . This after having visited the town of Boone for the very first time ever in February. Perhaps Foley had been talking to Shadow Watauga Chair Four Eggers, who also happens to be Beech Mountain town attorney.
Then the "capper quote" of the day, coming straight from the mouth of the Honorable Chairman Josh Howard, on what to do with his board's perennial Watauga problem: "My first instinct would be to make a motion to trade Watauga County to Tennessee." Harks back to what he said in 2013, that no doubt Wataugans would be better served by picking its Board of Elections members from "the first three names listed in the phone book." That comment insulted twice as many Republicans as it did Democrats!
And, I can add, that the Honarable Chairman Howard referred to the trip on the part of Foley and Malcolm to Watauga in February - Foley's first and only known trip to Boone - as a "laying on of hands." This effort was previously referred to as them coming to Watauga to "huddle" with our county board members. For a "laying on of hands" it seems to be an unsuccessful one, I suspect, as Howard still has his Watauga Problem and has now concluded the only way out is to force Watauga County over into Tennessee.
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