Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Breaking News: Court of Appeals Rules in Watauga Voting Rights Case

Did Watauga County citizens have the right to sue the State Board of Elections for rubber-stamping an Early Voting plan in the elections of 2014? Appears that they did have the right to sue, and to win in Superior Court.

In the summer of 2014, Eggers&Eggers&Aceto for the Watauga County Board of Elections imposed an Early Voting plan that conspicuously disabled Appalachian State University students.

A group of citizens, including several ASU students, sued on constitutional grounds.

On October 13, 2014, Judge Donald Stephens of Wake Superior Court ordered the State Board of Elections to place an Early Voting site on the ASU campus.

State Board of Elections appealed that decision to the NC Court of Appeals, but the elections of 2014 happened in the meantime, with an Early Voting site in the ASU Student Union.

NC Court of Appeals heard the appeal of Judge Stephens' order on August 12, 2015, and today -- almost a full year later -- the Court of Appeals dismissed the State Board of Elections' appeal and ruled the case moot.

This is good news. A precedent has been established in North Carolina for challenging unconstitutional manipulation of ballot access through Early Voting plans.


Susan Miller said...

With hope that this issue will not be challenged again, I rejoice in justice accomplished!

Anonymous said...

The amount of money Watauga County leaders are spending in legal fees to 1) strip voting opportunities from residents and 2) to protect the right of developers who wish to destroy various Watauga County neighborhoods is quite significant. Very poor use of tax revenues...

Any idea when the NC Supreme Court will rule on the ETJ issue?

Anonymous said...

You mean the ETJ where residents can't vote in Town of Boone elections?

Anonymous said...

The Court of Appeals' decision was a 2-1 decision (not unanimous), which means that if the State Board of Elections (through the Attorney General's Office) decides to appeal to the NC Supreme Court, that court (the NC Supreme Court) must hear the appeal. As the Supreme Court is currently deadlocked three Republicans to three Democrats, it's likely that this opinion would stand, IF it's heard before November, when a new Justice will be elected (either Edmunds or Morgan). But I doubt that things would move quickly enough to be decided before the November election, so that makes the election even more important, if that's possible.

Henery said...

Correction: the NC Supreme Court is composed currently of 4 Repubs and 3 Dems, and the Repubs can absolutely be depended on to rule along partisan lines.