Bill Aceto builds his legacy of naked partisanship on the Watauga County Board of Elections. He's clearly running the joint now, with putative Chair Luke Eggers in a total eclipse. Their 2-1 vote last night to move the precinct polling place for New River 3 -- the 2nd most populous precinct in the county -- further out from the center of its population is as cynical a manipulation of process as any we've seen since August 2013, when Aceto and Eggers took over control of voting in our county and began disenfranchising college students.
The voters in New River 3, which is primarily not college students, ought to be pissed. That precinct is overwhelmingly urban, made up mostly of Town of Boone voters. They now have to drive even further than the previous inconvenience of Mutton Crossing to a mega-church so far from the center of the precinct that its mega-large parking lot is in a different precinct altogether, Blue Ridge.
And not any mega-church either but one with a high profile for political activity in the past, which is to say, Republican/conservative political activity. Its last pastor, K. Allan Blume, was very vocal in the state in the culture wars, particularly the stigmatizing of homosexuals and the punishing of Baptist churches that displayed dangerous tolerance toward them. The pastor's wife Pam Blume served as an executive officer of the Watauga County Republican Party and then was elected Chair in 2010.
So, yes, let's by all means locate a polling place for a large and important precinct at a church with a history of partisanship!
There's not a thing any of us can do about it. The local Board of Elections can put polling places wherever they choose, and clearly, they do not choose fairness or convenience.
Actually, there is something the voters in New River 3 can do … vote! Vote like you mean it. Vote like you're fed up and won't take it any more, this exercise of political power by people running hobnailed boots over your ballot access. Vote early. Or wait until November 4 and drive all the way out Bamboo Road, building up a head of resentment as you motor, and then vote against the anti-democratic MACHINE that Bill Aceto is carrying water for.