|Bill Aceto with BOE|
member Stella Anderson
In addition to that Eggers document, Anna Oakes in the Watauga Democrat includes a link to the letter that
August 24, 2016
Executive Director, NC Board of Elections
VIA EMAIL: Kim.Strach@ncsbe.gov
Re: Watauga County Early Voting Locations
Dear Director Strach:
I write to you regarding attempts by the Watauga County Board of Elections to reach a decision for an Early Voting Plan in light of the decision of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the changes to the Early Voting law. I also write to clarify any misinformation you may have received from other parties regarding the status of the local boards efforts.
As you are aware, the Watauga County Board of Elections is stifled by partisan wrangling and an inability to reach consensus on the possible locations of early voting sites. The Board has investigated numerous options and potential locations, but has become deadlocked over the unsuitability of the Plemmons Student Center as a voting location.
At our most recent meeting, I proposed an Early Voting Plan which mirrored my previous early voting plan I submitted several weeks ago to your office (which includes a early voting site on the campus of Appalachian State University at the location of our Boone 2 Election Day polling place) with the additional days required by the 4th circuit ruling early voting days were to be allocated to the county board of elections office. Member Anderson spoke against my plan, insisting that she would not vote for a plan that did not include voting at the Plemmons building. Secretary Owen stated the County Board needed to seek unanimity on a plan, and that she would only second a motion which appeared to have the support of all members. As such, my motion died for lack of a second.
Member Anderson then made a motion for her plan, which included an Early Voting location at the Plemmons building. When asked whether she would compromise on that location, Member Anderson advised she would not. As such, her motion died for lack of a second.
Therefore, the Watauga County Board of Elections adopted neither a majority or minority plan for Early Voting in the upcoming election. As I read the statute governing this election, 163-227.2 in effect at this time means that early voting will occur only at the County Board of Elections Office since no Early Voting Plan was adopted for our County. While this gridlock removes any discretion from the County Board of Elections, I am unsure as to whether a Board Member may still petition the State Board for adoption of an Early Voting Plan. It is my understanding that Member Anderson has attempted to submit her proposed locations to the State Board in an attempt to have it considered.
While I believe this Default Option would be adequate for Watauga County based on the data compiled by the MIT software, in the event the State Board of Elections feels it has the authority to set an alternate Early Voting Plan based on these facts I wanted to present my proposal in the event they do consider this matter. I have also sent in a set of Findings of Fact which I submitted with my previous (majority) Early Voting plan. I believe these facts would help State Board members understand the dynamics in Watauga County. If you need for me to resend this information to you please let me know and I am happy to do.
Please advise me at your earliest convenience on the conclusion of the State Board regarding their authority to consider these under the statute governing Counties that failed to have any plan at all?
I appreciate all you and your team do for the voters of Watauga County. The recent State Board meeting in Concord was a wealth of information.
cc: Matthew Snyder, Watauga County Elections Director
Aceto's letter to Kim Strach is an interesting study in "absolutely, but maybe not." In the 5th paragraph, "As I read the statute,"
The 6th paragraph gets even more interesting: "...I believe this Default Option [voting only at the BOE office] would be adequate for Watauga County based on the data compiled by the MIT software...."
The MIT software Aceto cryptically refers to requires some explanation: the SBOE gave Elections Director Matt Snyder (and all elections directors across the state) access to MIT-developed software meant to simulate "wait times" to vote based on expected turn-out, the number of machines available for voting, time required for check in, etc. Aceto is claiming that this simulation software shows that the "default option" of the BOE office would be "adequate," but he includes nothing to back up that claim. (Because he has nothing to back up that claim?)
As a matter of fact, Stella Anderson used the MIT software and ran simulations that show the exact opposite of "adequate." Even if Four Eggers should prevail in annexing the county's Administration Building to the BOE office, the MIT simulations show wait times stretching beyond four hours.
It has not escaped the notice of various persons that Eggers & Aceto have engaged in an active conspiracy to frustrate, cripple, bollix, and generally muck up Early Voting in Watauga County for purely partisan motives.