BOE firm: No transfer precinct
by Kellen Short
Campbell, the lone Democrat on the board, asked Chairman Luke Eggers and Secretary Bill Aceto to put the matter on the agenda for a vote, but it died without a second.
"I personally like you as people ... but you have no moral sense," Campbell said. "You try to suppress the votes of your friends and your neighbors, and that is morally wrong."
In the past, elections staff has routinely used a transfer station at the Boone 2 polling place without receiving specific direction from the board to do so, Director Jane Ann Hodges said.
The transfer station allows voters who are registered in another Watauga County precinct to vote there and have their vote counted at that time.
Without a transfer precinct, any voter who shows up at the wrong polling place or has some other voting irregularity may cast a provisional ballot, which is subject to review. If the Board of Elections is able to verify the voter's eligibility, the ballot will be counted later. If they cannot, it will be rejected.
Hodges said voters have to fill out a second form if voting provisionally, and the process for evaluating the vote is more time-consuming for staff.
"It will add a lot of hours, especially to my position, but that's OK," Hodges said.
Eggers said after the meeting he was reluctant to make a change now, noting that the Board of Elections notifies each voter of their proper precinct and that provisional ballots will still be counted.
"Being that we're a week away from the election, I don't feel it's fair to go changing things around this close to Election Day," Eggers said.
Aceto said he also didn't feel it was necessary to have a transfer station at the Boone 2 precinct. He said one would be situated at the Watauga County Courthouse.
He said staff members have been carefully selected and assigned to cover the anticipated crowds at each precinct on Election Day, so a transfer station might create backlogs and lines on voting day.
"There's a lot of opportunities to vote not only on Election Day but prior to that," he said. "I didn't think it was necessary."
The board also approved 380 one-stop early votes and 21 new mail-in absentee ballots, taking the total number of early voters so far to 856.
The board also adopted unanimously the Oct. 22 meeting minutes and a list of 12 new voters, pending review, who have registered since last week's meeting.