On Oct. 19, Bill Aceto, the chairman of the Watauga County Board of Elections, requested a stay on a Wake County Superior Court ruling made on Oc. 12, which established the Appalachian State University Student Union as an early-voting site for Boone elections. Just a week after students won the right to vote early on campus, the site may still ultimately be denied.

We live in a nation founded on the ideal that our government rules from the consent of the governed. The legitimacy of any government depends on the citizens’ right to vote. Attempts to deny access to voting is a blatant attack on the most essential aspect of American democracy. So why would Bill Aceto not want students to vote?

Aceto claims that it is too much for the board of elections to pay for another site, but this is irrelevant because the town of Boone offered to pay for it. He then countered by saying that he is a tax-paying citizen of Boone and since he doesn’t want the town to pay for a site, no one else should have it either. Aceto is entitled to his opinion, but if thousands of tax-paying students and thousands more tax-paying Boone residents want a voting site in the student union, it should be provided. Aceto was appointed to uphold the interests of the citizens he serves, not just his own.

While more than 66 percent of registered voters in the town of Boone are younger than the age of 25, a group primarily composed of ASU students, a student union voting site is not exclusively for students. In every election where the site existed, it had the largest turnout of any early voting site in the entire county. As a site that the primary voting bloc of Boone plus thousands of other Watauga County residents have easy access to, it should be preserved by those who have been tasked with protecting the right to vote.

Aceto’s actions are contrary to the basic service he is meant to provide. And they are contrary to our nation’s democratic values.

Aceto made the choice to reject the bipartisan plan to establish an early voting site on Appalachian’s campus, rejecting the basic ideals of democracy and excluding thousands of voters from making their voices heard. At every step along this process, Aceto has done everything in his power to prevent students from having an early-voting site in the student union. This issue will not end with this year’s election, but will set the precedent for exclusion and denial of voting rights for years to come. This leaves students only one option for retaliation: make your voices heard and vote.

Lee Franklin and Sarah Aldridge, Boone


(5) comments

Call me ishmael

I have to wonder why the students med an on campus site when the court house is within easy walking distance and there is bus service for those that do not want to walk.


And I have to wonder why anyone can't see that this is just another GOP attempt at voter suppression.

Imma boonie

I have lived in the High Country for 40 years, and have voted (and volunteered) for years in the town and county elections. I find the voting site at ASU to be the best and easiest place to cast my vote. There are many dedicated free parking sites and they are very close to the entrance. One does not have to deal with downtown traffic with very little parking available. Easy peasy. I use this early voting site as often as I can. I also think that the students deserve a place on campus to vote. They need to be able to make their voices heard without having to walk to and from a voting site on the other side of town. (in usually nasty weather....last time it was snowing) Because of the push back from Aceto, I pledge to drive any student, any time, to the polling place downtown so they can cast their vote! I have done this in the past, and as long as Aceto and his cronies keep trying to suppress the vote, I will work for change....and I will #Resist.

Perm res

Way to go Bill Aceto! Temporary residents who don't pay city or county taxes don't need to be helping to determine who makes important decisions for our city or county. Let them vote in their home towns. Plenty of opportunity with one stop and absentee voting.


How many ASU students vote by absentee ballots from their home towns and then register and vote again in Boone? I know some do, but not sure just how many. The only thing the GOP wants to suppress is fraudulent votes!

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