BOONE — Watauga County Board of Elections Chairman Bill Aceto earlier this month sent letters to Appalachian State University Chancellor Sheri Everts, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute President Ken Boham and the ASU Student Government Association to ask for their input on potential early voting locations in the upcoming November presidential election.
The letter named three sites on the ASU campus that Aceto said are being considered by the board, including Legends, the Great Hall at the McKinney Alumni Center and the Holmes Convocation Center.
Aceto asked that the Plemmons Student Union — the county’s busiest early voting site during the March presidential primary — not be considered as a potential early voting location in November.
The letter said that the student union presented problems that precluded it from consideration as a poll location.
Aceto listed the requirements of a polling location as including the ability to establish a chain of custody for ballots, the existence of adequate parking, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, availability of curbside voting and the establishment and control of a 50-foot buffer zone around the poll.
“In consideration of these requirements and based upon the difficulties experienced with the buffer zone enforcement, complaints received by the board of elections, personal observation of board members and staff and preliminary discussions of this matter among board members at their meetings, it does not appear that the majority of the board believes the Plemmons Student Union is a workable location to meet our statutory requirements,” Aceto said in the letter.
“As such, in providing input to the board of elections, I would appreciate your not including that location in your possible sites for an early voting location.”
In 2014, the Watauga County Board of Elections was required by a court order to operate an early voting site at ASU.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections also required an ASU early voting site for the March primary after local board members were unable to come to a unanimous one-stop voting plan.
"My goal in submitting a letter to the local colleges was to produce alternatives for early voting locations for the November election," Aceto said. "I am hopeful the board will have multiple locations we can consider provided by the community college and university. Once we have a response the board can then discuss possible alternate early voting locations in our upcoming board meetings."