BOE director confirmed amid controversy

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Tommy Culkin

After much controversy, Matthew Snyder, the former chair of the Republican party, was officially approved as the next elections director of the Watauga County Board of Elections.

Snyder was confirmed by the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Monday, following a second vote April 17.

Bill Aceto, a member of the board, said he hopes the second vote removes any remaining doubts regarding the appointment.

“It doesn’t leave any questions surrounding the outcome of the vote,” he said.

Snyder was initially voted as the new director of elections April 1, with a vote count of 2-1, but board member Kathleen Campbell raised objections to the appointment.

One of the issues raised was a procedural question, arguing that a vote to call the question on Snyder’s appointment was approved, but there was never a vote to appoint him in the first place. That led to the second vote, where he was again approved by a vote of 2-1.

It was also argued that Snyder was appointed for purely partisan reasons.

Kim Strach, the executive director of the state BOE, stated in a letter to the Watauga County BOE that there was not enough evidence to support the claim. However, she still reminded Snyder to abstain from partisan activities due to his position.

“It will be imperative that your board stress the necessity that Mr. Snyder abstain from political activities as required by N.C.G.S. 165-69,” Strach wrote. “Impartiality and sound judgment are necessary to the proper administration of elections and are qualities critical for every director of elections.”

Another criticism was there was not enough solicitation of applicants, leading to fewer people applying for the position.

“Applicable statutes do not require an open application process and practices in this regard vary from county to county,” Strach wrote in response to the claim.

Snyder will officially assume his duties as director of elections July 1, 2015.

Story: Tommy Culkin, News Reporter