On Monday August 12, 2013 the Republican held Board of Election of Watauga County, North Carolina voted in a 2-1 majority on a new plan for Early Voting and Election Day practices in Watauga County that shadows an all too familiar narrative from the GOP...Voter Suppression.
When the Board passed these suppressive resolution they did two things:
1. Combined 3 precincts into one location with 28 parking spots; for more than 9,300 voters!
2. Eliminated voting from Appalachian State University Campus to reduce and suppress the vote of local students.
Here’s Why That’s Bad:
CONSOLIDATION OF OVER 9300 TOWN OF BOONE VOTERS INTO A SINGLE SUPER PRECINCT
At the August 12th Watauga County Board of Elections meeting, the Board approved (2-1) combining the three existing Boone Precincts into one Super Precinct. The Board of Elections Director stated during the meeting discussion that the total number of registered voters included in this new combined precinct would exceed 9,300 voters.
The Election Day voting site approved by the Watauga County Board of Elections for the new Super Precinct is the Agricultural Conference Center. The site is located .82 mile from the ASU Student Union, involves a 42-minute round-trip walk to and from the site, requires voters to walk in the street on a good part of their trek because there are no sidewalks, requires those in wheelchairs to navigate both traffic and obstacles close to the street, and offers approximately 30 total parking spaces, 20 of which will be required for staff parking.
ABANDONMENT OF THE ASU STUDENT UNION AS A ONE-STOP SITE SAVES NEITHER MONEY NOR RESOURCES
The ASU Student Union is centrally located on the Applachian State University campus and has been used as an early voting site since 2008.
Republican Board members claim that abandoning the ASU Student Union as a One-Stop voting site will save money and cut down on needed election personnel, Watauga County Board of Elections Director, Jane Hodges (a 27-year Watauga elections veteran) stated at the August 12th meeting that doing so would save neither Money nor Personnel needed.
Thirty-one percent (31%) of all of the Town of Boone’s 15,017 municipal voters live in dorms on ASU’s campus. It is important to note that in addition to the voters living in dorms in Boone 2 and Boone 3, there are also 2,500 faculty and staff and 17,589 total students either living and/or working or studying on ASU’s campus every day. Appalachian State University is the #1 employer in Watauga County. Inevitably some, if not most, of the Town of Boone voters living in the Town’s other 6 municipal precincts are also on ASU’s campus every day.
What’s happening here is clear. In 2012 college voters amounted to 19% of the national vote and of that 19% some 60% voted for progressive candidates and ballot initiatives. This is a number that terrifies Republicans, so instead of embracing the voting structure that makes our country great they manipulate it to suppress the voices of millions of people whom’s vote they deem unworthy. The GOP is even scared of their own college student’s vote because an estimated 37% of college Republicans support progressive social issues such as marriage equality and women's right to choice in their reproductive health.
Watauga County also voted for Democratic Candidates in an overwhelming majority in the 2012 Elections; so the Republicans of Watauga County, echoing the tactics of the state and national Republican party, are doing whatever it takes to keep voters from the polls. No matter how many laws and constitutional rights they have to violate to do it.
Add your name to this petition and tell Watauga County Republican Board Members that enough is enough. It's time to Adopt Early Voting and Election Day Plans That Reverse the Voter Suppression They Have Incited!