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Watauga County Board of Elections hosts one-stop voting location forum

Watauga+County+Board+of+Elections+hosts+one-stop+voting+location+forum

The Watauga County Board of Elections held a public one-stop voting workshop Monday to allow citizens to voice their opinions concerning the potential one-stop locations for the 2014 elections.

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Secretary of Watauga Board of Elections Bill Aceto (left) and Student Government Association President Dylan Russell (right) speak at the Board of Elections open forum Monday night at the Watauga County Administration building. Photo by Rachel Krauza | The Appalachian

During their Feb. 17 meeting, the members of the BOE agreed to hold the public one-stop voting workshop, allowing people to drop in and make recommendations to the members of the board concerning locations.

BOE Chairman Luke Eggers said he felt the workshop went great and was able to receive input from a multitude of people. BOE Secretary Bill Aceto said that he was excited about the folks that felt it to be important to come and express their thoughts with the board.

“I’ve heard from a broad base of folks who have shown support for a multitude of recommended sites throughout the county,” Aceto said.

Appalachian State University Student Government Association President Dylan Russell said that holding the workshop was a way to make things right in the future.

“I think it is really empowering when elected officials really take the time to seek out input from the community, specifically since everything has been so disputed,” Russell said. “I applaud the Elections Board for taking the time to listen to the input of the community and listen to both sides. Hopefully from this, we will see action.”

Appalachian’s SGA passed a bill Feb. 20 titled “The On-Campus Voting Sites Act,” which formally called upon the BOE to reinstate polling places on-campus, including the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on Rivers Street and the Price Lake Room of the Plemmons Student Union.

Multiple people in attendance at the workshop expressed frustration with the setting being too informal, including SGA Director of External Affairs Sarah Dickson.

“I will say that I am disappointed that we were not able to go up and speak into a microphone in front of the whole board at once,” Dickson said. “I think this made it more difficult to get our point across, and I am not really sure why that has not happened. I am glad they gave us the opportunity to speak in a public comment though, because I know in the fall we did not have that opportunity.”

The workshop was organized so that all in attendance were free to walk around and speak with one another, as well as the board members when they were available.

Aceto said that he heard similar frustrations from citizens and that there is always room for improvement.

“It is good to have this many people show up, but I think of course we can improve it,” Aceto said. “If it needs to be more formal and give people the opportunity to step up to the mic and speak, I’m willing to listen to those suggestions.”

The workshop was held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Board Room of the Watauga County Administrative building, next to the courthouse.

Story: Gerrit Van Genderen, News Reporter

Photo: Rachel Krauza, Senior Photographer

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