You may remember my article (Kricker Rules the State Board of Elections). The article was about the one state board of elections member who essentially made all the decisions as to which counties could reduce their one-stop voting hours for the November General Election. Maja Kricker, one of two Democrats on the state board, took advantage of the law that required a unanimous vote to change voting hours. Kricker concocted rules that all counties had to comply with in order to get her vote. And, since the SBOE vote must be unanimous, she effectively made the final decision for the five member board.
The most troubling part of this scenario was that none of the other board members had a problem with her actions. True, their opposition to her tyrannical stance would have been fruitless, but they acquiesced in a way that made her process seem appropriate. The chairman even gave weight to her requirements by naming them “the Kricker Rules.”
Now there’s another member of a local board that seems to be calling the shots in her County. Kathleen Campbell, in Watauga County, has been fighting to reinstate the one-stop site on the Appalachian State University campus. The three-member board voted 2 – 1 not to open the site on campus, in that the Board of Elections’ one-stop site was less than a mile away.
Campbell appealed to the State Board of Elections. Superior Court Judge Don Stephens overturned the State Board’s decision to uphold the Watauga County Board of Elections plan. Stephens ordered Watauga County to open the University one-stop site – 10 days before one-stop, early voting was scheduled to start in North Carolina. On October 17, the North Carolina Court of Appeals stayed Stephens’ decision and then lifted the stay on October 21st.
It doesn’t look like the North Carolina Supreme Court will have to dirty their hands on this case, in an emergency meeting scheduled for today at 4 p.m., the State Board of Elections reversed their decision and re-established an early voting site on the University’s campus in time to open tomorrow.
Stephens seems to believe that voting is all about convenience. Stephens, in a statement said; “(It) is the responsibility of government to minimize inconvenience in voting, not maximize it.”
This decision may set a new standard for voting in the United States of America – forget about the Constitution and all the equal access and one-person, one-vote blather, we can now look to convenience as a standard to measure voting decisions.
A couple of questions.
Has the State Board of Elections helped to set the precedent that will encourage judges to pick one-stop sites? And, as to one board member in a board of three or five making the decisions, should we ditch the whole idea of boards of elections, both local and state, and let the court’s make all the decisions?