Hat-tip to Jerry Wayne for keeping an eye on these vote suppressors:
Eric Eller and Nancy Owen, the Republican members of the Watauga County Board of Elections, have filed a complaint in the Wake County Superior Court seeking to block an early voting site in the Appalachian State University student union.
Eller and Owen are represented by Boone attorney Nathan Miller, who has a long history of bringing suits to suppress the student vote. Eller and Owen are asking for an expedited hearing on their complaint. Early voting is due to begin October 15.
It appears that Eric Eller tried a few months ago to get local police to "gear up" for potential black protesters at the App State polling place:
Eller stated in the letter to Stephenson that a portion of the Black at App State demands declared intention to draw media attention to their activities. The Black at App State demands stated, “We will not hesitate to contact the state-wide media sources to publicize our movement and our demands and bring to light the treatment of black students, faculty and staff at Appalachian State University.”
Disrupting the election process would draw substantial media attention — potentially including national media attention — and such publicity could attract outside organizations with activities that may be “nonviolent,” Eller’s letter stated.
Stephenson said he returned Eller’s inquiry with a phone call in which he told Eller that the police department didn’t have any indication that there would be an attempt to disrupt the election process at a campus polling site.
Adam Zebzda, the SGA director of external affairs, said members of SGA were made aware of Eller’s email in late August. He said that since then, a collaborative effort developed to address the situation.
“We believe it is warranted that the board issue a formal apology and Mr. Eller immediately resigns from his position,” Zebzda said. “Additionally, we look forward to having an in-depth discussion with the board to address Mr. Eller’s rhetoric and to try rebuilding the trust that was eroded due to recent actions.”
Board of elections member Matt Walpole said during the Sept. 8 meeting that members had received “lengthy emails” from at least two SGA students with concerns about Eller’s letter.
As well they should. Had Eller's letter not specifically mentioned the election, it could be excused/explained as a "citizen" notifying law enforcement of a potential problem. But bringing the election into it triggers a whole new set of ethical considerations.
As a member of a voting board (and not the Chair), Eller has no business speaking with authority in the absence of a quorum agreement. He is literally usurping the authority of the entire board for his own purposes, and that alone should bring about his removal.
The same goes for this "complaint" filed to remove the Student Union polling place. Eller and Owen are taking a formal action without concurrence by the other three members of their board, and that complaint should be dismissed as inappropriate. You can't trade hats around, take off your Board hat and put on your Concerned Citizen hat, just because you don't have the Board votes to get what you want. That's not how any of this works, but the Watauga GOP has never exercised even a modicum of restraint, or considered "ethics" to be important.