Board of election lawsuit unites campus political clubs

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Moss Brennan, Political Editor

Leaders of App State political organizations are upset and disappointed about a lawsuit two Republican members of the Watauga County Board of Elections filed against the on-campus early voting site. 

The lawsuit, filed by board members Eric Eller and Nancy Owen, asks the court to stop the state board of elections from adopting the App State early voting site in the Plemmons Student Union and use the Holmes Convocation Center instead. 

“I’m not going to lie, to see my party here do that is very disappointing,” said River Collins, president of App State College Republicans. “I didn’t like it at all. It made me furious honestly.”

Collins said it would be OK if the site was moved to the Holmes Convocation Center, but wonders why the lawsuit was filed with just over a month until early voting, which begins Oct. 15. 

App State College Democrats president Dalton George is on the same wavelength as Collins. He said it’s disheartening that this is happening again. 

“It’s taken many fights in the judicial system for a voting site to be in one consistent place,” George said. “It’s kind of ridiculous.”

This lawsuit is the fourth related to App State’s on-campus voting site since 2014. 

Other political organizations are also upset by this lawsuit. 

The president for the App State chapter of Turning Point USA — a conservative organization focused on getting students to vote for Donald Trump — said one of the group’s core beliefs is that everyone should vote. 

“Attempting to move this polling precinct less than 30 days before the election will only result in a mess to the community during early voting and election day,” said John Moncrieff, the TPUSA chapter president. 

Adam Zebzda, App State Student Government Association director of external affairs, said the lawsuit is attempting to undermine the court of public opinion and the state board of elections’ authority. 

“The public has repeatedly unified in support of using the union as a voting site, and by using the legal system to try and invalidate our community’s verdict, it turns the courts into a tool of oppression instead of equal protection,” Zebzda said. 

A petition that was circulated in July garnered over 1,000 signatures in support of the Plemmons Student Union early voting site. 

In North Carolina, Watauga County was one of two western counties that voted Democratic for president in 2016. The other was Buncombe County. 

“I know that polling site does not help my party. I’m very well aware of that. But I don’t care,” Collins said. “That’s how democracy works.”