BOONE, NC (WBTV) - The Price Lake Room in the Student Union was a busy place on the campus of Appalachian State University on Thursday. An early voting site was hastily set up after the State Board of Elections reversed an earlier vote and decided the precinct at Appalachian State should be opened.
Local officials did not know the site would need to be set up until the vote by the State Board just before5 p.m.m on Wednesday. "It has been a roller coaster ride," said local Elections Supervisor Jane Hodges. To confuse things even more, the State Supreme Court just a short time after that, stayed an earlier court ruling that ordered the early voting site be opened. In effect, agreeing with the original board vote not to open it.
Despite the up and down nature of the rulings, officials decided to stick with the latest Board decision and on-campus voting began Thursday morning. "It means College student's voices matter," said ASU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cindy Wallace. "We have wanted this for a long time."
Word quickly spread around campus and by noon, more than 300 votes had been cast.
Elections Board member Bill Aceto still thinks the on-campus site was not needed. "We have five other locations for early voting," he said, and added, "One of them is really close to campus." That location, in the County Administrative building on King Street, is within a few hundred yards off of campus and less than half a mile from the early voting site in the Student Union.
Aceto does not think it is too far for students and university staff to walk to. "There are restaurants and other places that students go to in that area anyway," he said. Aceto says despite his feelings, once the word came down to open the new site, he did what he could to make sure it opened properly and running smoothly and he is encouraging everyone who is registered to vote. As to rumors that the ASU site might still close, Hodges says no. "We are not stopping." After the election, the board could revisit the matter, but there's no word yet if it will.