I was disappointed to find very little information on the six ballot questions facing North Carolina voters in the last midterm election. Nothing in the Mountain Xpress voter guides and no informational resources available at the polls, aside from the partisan volunteers soliciting just outside.
These questions [stood] to amend the state constitution and can have long-reaching, often unintended results. If voters are going to be asked to make informed decisions on important matters, it is incumbent on state and election authorities to make solid, neutral information readily available.
In other states, voters are provided with considerable impartial resources in the form of voter information guides by local county registrars and election departments. If the State Board of Elections doesn’t want to do its job by compiling the information that voters require to make informed choices, then why can’t our local Buncombe County election department step up and do their citizenry a solid?
We are always asking people to vote and do their the civic duty — the integrity of our democracy might actually depend on it. The least that the taxpayer-funded, nonpartisan authorities in charge of this stuff can do is provide us the information we need to do our job as citizens.
— Chris Callaway
Editor’s note: Callaway reports that he recently moved from Asheville to Old Fort.
Regarding Xpress’ coverage, we published an article on the amendments in our Oct. 17 issue (avl.mx/5fg), though there wasn’t room to include it in the voter guide issues.
Xpress also contacted Buncombe County Election Services Director Trena Parker Velez, who provided the following response to the points relating to her department: “North Carolina’s county Boards of Elections were provided with descriptions of the constitutional amendments by the N.C. State Board of Elections. County Boards of Elections were instructed to provide these explanations to anyone who requested them from our offices. These explanations were made available as described at the Buncombe County Board of Elections office, and were also posted on our website. The North Carolina State Board of Elections also provided these explanations in the North Carolina Judicial Voter Guide, which was mailed to every voter before the election. Election officials at voting sites were not to provide additional information.”