As longtime election workers in Asheville Precinct 17.1 (Beth Israel Synagogue), we protest the intention of newly appointed Board of Elections member Robert Knapp to force out Elections Director Trena Parker.
Under Parker's leadership, the Buncombe County Board of Elections has attained a reputation as the best county board in the state. Election officials all over the state have begun emulating processes first adopted here in Buncombe.
Parker has the enthusiastic backing of almost everyone who has “worked the elections” for the past two decades. She is professional. She is impartial and fair to all voters and all employees.
In last year's disputed District 2 election for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, Parker and the elections board fairly and impartially applied the laws and rules that were set by a Republican-controlled legislature. It is totally wrong for Knapp to attempt to punish Parker for following the letter of the law when the laws they wrote backfired in their attempts to bias the election process in the one party's favor.
We [writing this letter] are Republicans and Democrats. We have served as chief judge, party judge and/or election assistant in precinct 17.1.
The Buncombe County Republican Party should help keep the Board of Elections free of political manipulation by immediately removing Knapp from his position on the board and appointing a Republican who would stick to overseeing the elections process in a professional and nonpartisan manner.
Having done that, they should urge Jack Westall, the party's other appointee, to reconsider his decision to not be sworn in.
— Ernie Thurston (Democratic Judge); Betty S. Parks (Republican Judge); Jane Northway (Chief Judge); Geneve H. Bacon (Democratic Election Assistant); Bill Berdahl (Republican Election Assistant); Jamie Berdahl (Democratic Election Assistant)