[This post partially answers in the affirmative the question asked earlier: "Is Watauga BOE Member Eric Eller Just Nathan Miller With Hair?"
Democratic member Jane Anne Hodges had pointed out that the local election officials have always acted in accordance with State Board of Elections -- specifically their instructions to give any person requesting it a provisional ballot (instrux consistent with Federal law, incidentally). The would-be voter signs an affidavit affirming "I am a duly registered voter." As always happens in such cases, that would-be voter is subsequently researched to determine whether there is a proper registration on file in Watauga. If not, that ballot will not count. Over 200 of some 500+ total provisional ballots did not count. But Eric Eller thinks -- and thinks strongly -- that the signature alone constitutes potential voter fraud.
"Potential" is the operative word. It would be fraud if the voter knowingly made a false statement. Most of those 200+ disallowed ballots were cast by young people who had filled out voter registration forms in Watauga County but listed their residential addresses at the homes they recently moved away from -- where their parents live -- and did not understand enough about the process to know that they were in fact registering to vote in some other county.
Eric Eller wants those knuckleheads prosecuted for fraud. So does Nancy Owen.
Democratic member Marv Williamsen said he didn't want to participate in any aggression toward these would-be voters -- did they knowingly do anything wrong. Williamsen didn't like what message that would send to all young voters -- "We'll get you if you make a mistake trying to exercise your right to vote." Williamsen especially didn't want to go there in the current national churn of alleged "voter suppression."
At the mention of those words, Eric Eller went ballistic. He was shouting "no voter suppression, no voter suppression," but an 18-year-old who blundered into a polling place last November 6, thinking he was registered in Watauga County and who just wanted to participate in the national elections -- that would-be voter might disagree about the implied intimidation.
To be referred for possible prosecution for fraud -- when your vote didn't count anyway -- looks like very direct voter suppression to me.
Next Monday cannot get here soon enough.
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