Saturday, December 09, 2017

Will Boone Swear in New Town Council Members on December 21?

Photo HC Press
Winners of the 2017 Boone Town Council elections still haven't been certified (and therefore can't be sworn in as scheduled on December 21, pending legal action filed yesterday in Wake County -- see below) because of Nathan Miller, prominent Boone lawyer and vice chair of the Watauga Republican Party.

(Note: The hold on certification of newly elected officials applies to all of Watauga County, including the municipal winners in Blowing Rock, Beech Mountain, and Seven Devils.)

Outline of Miller's Solo Attack on the Whole Elections Process 

October 13, 2017: Judge A. Graham Shirley enters an order in Wake Superior Court establishing an early voting site at ASU. Nathan Miller with Bill Aceto as plaintiff promptly intervenes and appeals Judge Shirley's order to the Court of Appeals.

October 18, 2017: Court of Appeals grants Miller-Aceto a temporary stay.

October 25, 2017: Court of Appeals dissolves the stay. Judge Shirley's original order is back in force, and it's the Eve of Early Voting on campus.

October 26, 2017: Early Voting opens on schedule at ASU. (Voting has already been going on at the downtown courthouse site since October 19.)

November 7, 2017: Election Day for Boone, Blowing Rock, Seven Devils, and Beech Mountain. There are winners and losers.

November 16, 2017: Now with Anne Marie Yates as plaintiff, Nathan Miller files an election protest with the Watauga (holdover) Board of Elections alleging an "irregularity or misconduct" in the Boone Town Council election and requesting a new election. Miller's whole argument: The law requires 20 days of advertisement to precede the opening of Early Voting, and the space between the Court of Appeals action on October 25 and the opening of Early Voting on the ASU campus on October 26 was precisely one day, not 20, and therefore the election is invalid. (Never mind Judge Shirley's order and the precedent of 2014.)

November 20, 2017: The Watauga County (hold-over) Board of Elections
votes unanimously to reject Miller's protest. Board Chair Bill Aceto says the protest has no merit.

November 21, 2017: Miller files Notice of Appeal with the state Board of Elections (SBOE), appealing the Watauga BOE's rejection of his election protest. General Counsel for the SBOE responds that because the SBOE does not exist currently (due to a lawsuit pending in the Supreme Court), the finding of the local Board stands as final. Any appeal must now be addressed to Wake Superior Court (as provided for by statute).

November 27, 2017: Nathan Miller replies to the SBOE General Counsel: We reject that interpretation of the law and maintain that until a proper SBOE is appointed and can rule on our objections, no certification of Watauga County municipal elections can be made.

November 28, 2017: General Counsel for the SBOE tells Miller he's wrong on the law and has until noon "tomorrow" -- November 29 -- to file a Notice of Appeal in Wake Superior Court. Miller rejects that, misses the deadline for appeal, and says he can wait until hell freezes over or until there's a new SBOE installed to hear his complaints. Therefore, according to Miller, no new municipal officials exist in Watauga County and exactly none may be sworn in.

That's where it stands. Or did, until Boone Town Council election winners Sam Furgiuele, Marshall Ashcraft, and Connie Ulmer filed a petition in Wake Superior Court yesterday (Friday, December 8) for a Writ of Mandamus to end this cynical and calculated circus.

What's this all about? Student voting, an existential threat to Trumpism.

1 comment:

Anonagain said...

Once again, I wonder what their angle is here. What are they hoping to accomplish? Come on, lurking Watauga Republicans! Tell us why they are doing this, and what does this have to do with Blowing Rock, Beech Mountain, and Seven Devils? Does hatred of Boone trump (ha) everything else?