Over the past two Saturdays, I've shared with Kossacks our ongoing battle with a corrupt, Tea Party Watauga County Board of Elections. You can read my two past diaries here and here. In short, the two Meathead Republican Right-Wingers argued that voters, especially Appalachian State University voters, had been having problems finding their on-campus Student Union polling location. They said the progressive voters in the Town of Boone and at ASU were "confused about where to cast ballots."
Their answer to this fictional voter confusion was to combine the three most progressive municipal polling sites into one off-the-beaten-track, hard to access, where-the-hell-is-it Super Precinct of over 9,300 voters and fewer than 30 parking spaces.
Well, now. Our local Democratic Party didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, and neither did Appalachian State University students. Together we decided, against all odds, to fight back hard, and, by extension, serve up some meathead heads on a platter.
Now our plucky local Democratic Party is always up for sport. It doesn't take challenges lightly, and it never, ever, loses by default. In fact, I'd have to say, it pretty much relishes the game.
So game on.
In sizing things up, there really wasn't any safe ground. After all, the State Board of Elections members, 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats, were all appointed by loser Governor Pat McCrory. And the three Republicans on the Board are downright freaky.
But we decided that the new State Board of Elections members needed to get a wakeup call that we weren't gonna take this crap in our neck of the woods. Local Board of Elections Democratic member Kathleen Campbell became an overnight national progressive heroine, and the local party latched on and held on.
We applied immense local, statewide and national pressure and, ultimately pushed the Tea Party back onto our side of the field. They caved. Rachel Maddow summed it up best:
At the State Board of Elections hearing this past Tuesday, where Kathleen Campbell (with one victory under her belt and one hand tied behind her back) attempted to restore early voting to ASU's campus, I watched her amazing presentation, watched her knock down the Meathead arguments one by one. The meatheads stood there with some pathetic scribbles on a yellow pad. In the end, the State BOE refused Campbell's arguments in the name of, "well now, you already got something, so we're gonna have to give them something too." WRAL out of Raleigh live streamed the entire hearing, including first-up Montravius King. You can watch it here.
We're not there yet. We get it. It's one of those deals where the Tea Party forced us in the name of bi-partisanship to give ground (early voting on ASU's campus) in exchange for no Super Precinct and a polling place back on campus. That's why we're still fighting. We don't declare victory on raw deals.
So we're still at it. At Wednesday's local BOE meeting, the meatheads said the on-campus polling site (currently located in the Student Union) was to be relocated to a BYOB nightclub on the far corner of campus. The building has no windows, no air conditioning, no ventilation, weak lighting, virtually no heat, is not ADA compliant, and has serious flooding issues.
Campbell discussed favoring the Linville Falls Room in the Plemmons Student Union, which has recently finished undergoing more than five years of construction, over Legends, which she described as being a dive joint. She asked David Robertson, director of Student Programs and overseer of Legends and the Plemmons Student Union, for his opinion on the both locations as a polling site.Once again, this meeting shows a reasoned and well-prepared Campbell against idiot meatheads who end up with nothing to support their decision to vote for an inadequate polling location other than outright voter suppression. The State Board had warned our local Board that they'd better start getting along and that, above all, they didn't want to see any more meetings up on YouTube, so here it is for your viewing pleasure, up on Youtube. The whole thing is worth watching, but the discussion of the ASU polling location begins at around the 17 minute mark.
Robertson noted that the Legends is in a flood prone area of Boone and has flooded twice already this year, cancelling two contracted events. He noted that the Student Union has never flooded in its existence since ’67.
Pertaining to voting machine security, He noted that Legends has 17 entry doors in seven locations with 16 locksets while Linville Falls Room in the student union only has two sets of double doors with four locksets.
He also mentioned that Legends is an “old dog of a building” which doesn’t have a ventilation system other than large intake fans and has no backup generator for emergency power.
The State Board doesn't think it has to approve the decision to relocate the ASU polling location. We insist they do since the meatheads made the mistake of requiring the State BOE Director to sign off on their final resolution (something Campbell decided not to point out to them at the meeting).
NOW THEREFORE, it is hereby resolved by the Watauga County Board of Elections:So here's waving at you from Watauga County, NC, where the Democrats are badasses. You're more than likely to be seeing us again pretty soon, on YouTube of course, taking our case back to a State Board of Elections that would just as soon shove us on over the border into Tennessee.
1. The polling place for the Boone 2 Precinct is hereby changed to the Legends Building on the campus of Appalachian State University, 190 Hardin Street; Boone, North Carolina.
2. The Watauga County Board of Elections Director shall take all steps appropriate and necessary to advertise this change in accordance with State law, upon approval by the Executive Director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
Resolved, Passed, and Adopted at its scheduled board meeting this the __ day of September, 2013.
Chairman, Watauga County Board of Elections
Kim Westbrook Strach, Executive Director
But we're not about to be shoved anywhere.