A Soldier’s Fight for the First Amendment
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

Honor - Integrity - Personal Courage Documentary

Stokes County Board of Elections

2017 Mr. Hewett Runs for Political Office

Mr. Hewett in 2017 ran for a seat on the King City Council. However, because American Legion Post 290 ran Mr. Hewett out of the post with trumped up charges against him they banned from the property. Since one of the polling stations for the King was the American Legion, Mr. Hewett would be unable too personally politic on the property for his candidacy. To give some background the American Legion has been used a polling station for thirty plus (30+) years. However, it was never officially recognized as a polling location by the State of North Carolina’s Board of Elections (NCBOE) which is required by statutory law § 163-166.4. (b) and (a1) cannot restrict access to the buffer zone for “distribute campaign literature, place political advertising, solicit votes, or otherwise engage in election-related activity.” By not allowing Mr. Hewett access to the property Post 290 violated his rights as a candidate under NCBOE state law as well as his Federal rights of Freedom of Speech. § 163-166.4. (a1) Area for Election-Related Activity. – Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the county board of elections shall also provide an area adjacent to the buffer zone for each voting place in which persons or groups of persons may distribute campaign literature, place political advertising, solicit votes, or otherwise engage in election-related activity. (b) Special Agreements About Election-Related Activity. – The Executive Director of the State Board of Elections may grant special permission for a county board of elections to enter into an agreement with the owners or managers of a nonpublic building to use the building as a voting place on the condition that election- related activity as described in subsection (a1) of this section not be permitted on their property adjacent to the buffer zone, if the Executive Director finds all of the following: (1) That no other suitable voting place can be secured for the precinct. (2) That the county board will require the chief judge of the precinct to monitor the grounds around the voting place to ensure that the restriction on election-related activity shall apply to all candidates and parties equally. (3) That the pattern of voting places subject to agreements under this subsection does not disproportionately favor any party, racial or ethnic group, or candidate. The SCBOE and American Legion Post 290 had never followed the State’s election laws in having the American Legion officially authorized as a voting location by the NCBOE Executive Director. State Law requires the use of public buildings first and if there are no suitable public buildings available that a nonpublic building can be used. Only if the owners of that building comply with State election laws and that property has to be approved by the Executive Director of the Board of Elections. In off year voting the King Library has been utilized for just that purpose and is a suitable regular voting as well.

May 8, 2017 Mr. Hewett Informs SCBOE of Intent to Run for Office

Mr. Hewett advised the Stokes County Board of Elections (SCBOE) of his intent to run for King City Council. He also reminded the SCBOE of the previous year’s assault at the location by American Legion Member Ronald Shouse and comments that then Commander Don Holland had made to the Stokes News about Mr. Hewett’s political sign “Veterans Against Trump doesn’t belong there.” He also referenced Chairman David Dalton of the Stokes County Democratic Party (SCDP) and his concerns about Commander Holland’s comments to the Stokes News in which Holland’s words, “express a gross, malignant, and intimidating misunderstanding of the Constitutional, legal and political principles that govern American elections.” Mr. Hewett attended the SCBOE monthly meeting and expressed his concerns about not only his assault but a previous assault at the polling station upon SCDP leadership in the 2014 election. During this meeting the lone Democrat brought to motion to move the location but was not seconded and failed to move forward at the time. SCBOE has a 2-1 Republican majority on the board and the Republican majority chose to ignore state law and keep the voting at the American Legion.

May 10, 2017 Jason Perry of SCBOE Informs American Legion Post 290

Director Jason Perry of the SCBOE informs American Legion Post 290 Commander Don Holland of Mr. Hewett’s intent to run as a candidate for King City Council. He also informs the Post that because the Post had barred him from the property that they must allow him “access to the premises in order to campaign on his (or anyone else’s) behalf. That the location is governed by statute and as per the North Carolina Board of Elections (NCBOE), “The private group cannot forbid access to a polling site while in use as a polling site and “the ability of individuals to engage in … display political advertising must also be permitted.” July 11, 2017 SCBOE Meeting Mr. Hewett attended the SCBOE meeting and expressed his concerns with the polling location and that he had filed as a candidate for King City Council. The Board refused to take any action in moving the location to a more safe and secure area. In a letter dated July 11, 2017, Dir. Perry was informed that Command leadership of the Post had changed and the Commander Clifton Kilby would now be the contact person for Post 290 and the American Legion. Not only is the local Post involved but Commander Kilby has sent, “copy of your letter has been sent up the chain to the Department level that includes the North Carolina Commander. Commander Kilby states that the Post is “a safe, [convenant] and secure place to vote is one thing that has been in place for years.” Contrary to Kilby’s comment it is not a safe place. As you have read, American Legion Post 290 Member assaulted Mr. Hewett in 2016 and former Stokes County Democrat Chairman (SCDC) was assaulted on the same property in 2014. The Post is anything but a safe location when one of its members harasses and assaults peaceful politicking campaigners as well as the Post’s position that certain “political signs” it disagrees with don’t belong there! Part of the language in the letter appears to be somewhat coercive in nature, “I know that the Stokes County BOE has the power to change the voting place but are you willing to take on the liability?” Just what is Kilby referring to when he states, “are you willing to take on the liability?” What liability is talking about, someone being assaulted on the property as what’s happened in the past two elections. We would think that the Board would want to change locations so that these assaults will stop happening at the polling station, both of which happened on American Legion Property. It is apparent that the American Legion Post 290 is not a secure and safe location for voters nor those campaigning. July 31, 2017 SCBOE Letter to Post 290 Dir. Perry wrote a letter to Commander Kilby and outlined what Josh Lawson, general counsel of the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement and Stokes Co. Attorney Ty Browder, that according to State Law: North Carolina General Statute 163-166.4(a1) states that “the county board of elections shall also provide an area adjacent to the buffer zone for each voting place in which persons or groups of persons may distribute campaign literature, place political advertising, solicit votes, or otherwise engage in election- related activity.” The statute does not indicate an exception to this, such as a candidate or other individual who has been banned by a private organization from the property being disallowed from engaging in such campaigning activity. The Post has been informed of the law and the requirements must be met in order for them to host elections by the SCBOE. Barring Mr. Hewett from the property during an election violated his rights to campaign on the property and exercise his freedom of speech since the property in question becomes a public place. Mr. Hewett also informed the SCBOE that if no action was taken to move the polling location that he would take legal action to have it moved. Later at the August 22, SCBOE meeting Kilby still persists in his claim he has not been shown the laws that allow Mr. Hewett access to the property even after being restricted from entering the location by the property owners. Clearly it is stated by both the state and county attorney’s. August 15, 2017 SCBOE Meeting At the August 15, 2017 SCBOE meeting both Mr. Hewett and Mr. Dalton addressed the Board with their concerns about maintaining the American Legion as a polling station. We’ll let you view the video of this portion of the meeting as well as the vote to keep voting at the American Legion. What is bothersome is the Board had to be aware of the information Dir. Perry received from the State and County attorneys concerning the law in using nonpublic buildings as the voting location. The Board was in clear violation of the law in not having the State’s approval of using a nonpublic building. The Republican majority chose to knowingly ignore the law and the rights of Mr. Hewett to campaign on the property, where the only Democrat expressed the correct position in upholding the law. Board Chairman Robert Robertson, R made a comment, “it’s our decision to make whether the State Board likes it or not, it’s our decision.” They are about to be told what they will do by the State Board. A letter wrote to Dir. Perry from the American Legion dated August 15, 2017 indicates that Dir. Perry was requested to attend the monthly meeting of Post 290 and to be asked questions concerning the moving of the elections from the Post. Even though they claim to be a nonpolitical organization, public comments by the former Post Commander Holland to the Stokes News are anything but that. In stating what types and language of political signs belong on Legion property during an election. This position is obviously what the new Post Commander and the Post as a whole agrees with since there has never been any retraction of Holland’s public comments by Post 290 or the American Legion. It would have been simple for the Post to have kept their location as a polling station in allowing Mr. Hewett his right to have been there for that day only. However, it appears that they were opposed to Mr. Hewett’s run for office by not only in keeping him from the polling station but later in October Commander Kilby and other Post members attended a Q & A meeting for candidates and submitted questions for Mr. Hewett to answer as to why he was banned from the property as an apparent attempt to embarrass him and influence voters. August 17, 2017 Letter from State Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement to SCBOE Throughout this period to time the SCBOE knew they were in violation of the State Election Laws. They could have done what was right, but chose to do what they wanted along party lines. The Board was majority two Republicans - Robert Robertson and Durward Bennett with the lone Democrat - Mike Pell. This was the current makeup of the BOE at the time, state law has changed where there are now five (5) members and the board’s current make up are majority Democrat. Now Mr. Robertson is about to find out just whether the NCSBOE, “likes it or not,” stands in their decision to ignore the law. On August 17, 2017, Executive Director Kim Starch (R) for the State Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement wrote the SCBOE a letter informing them of their violation and instructing them to move the polling location. Not only do they require immediate relocation but the State Board recognizes the American Legions attempt to co-opt their authority, “Additional constitutional concerns are implicated in what appears to be an attempt to coopt the authority of your board in the unlawful restriction of protected speech at the precinct.” It is noted that the Counsel for the State Board has on various occasions advised the director that “the use of nonpublic buildings for election related activity is governed by statute, not by the private policies of a given landlord and requires Executive Director’s prior approval before using any private facility as a voting place.” They are hereby ordered to: “Because your board has failed to take action to select a new site once it became known that the American Legion sought to bar an individual who possesses a legal right of access to the precinct, the location has not met the requirements of G.S. §§ 163-166.4(b)(2) or 163-166.4(b)(3). Accordingly, and effective immediately, I disapprove the use of the American Legion Building in King. I understand that other suitable public locations exist and are available within the precinct, and I encourage your board to act quickly to secure a new polling site and to publish appropriate notice required under law.” August 22, 2017 SCBOE MEETING Even at the August 22, 2017 SCBOE meeting Commander Kilby makes several statements that show their contempt for the law and constitutional freedoms of the individual. One of the things I want to correct on Mr. Hewett, he says, he was assaulted by American Legion people. He’s got a video that’s been viewed by at least three assistant district attorneys and at least two judges and there is no evidence showing he’s been assaulted. He’s says the American Legion folks there provoked him. Individual approach him and told him, he was violating the American Legion Constitution. By telling people that he was a member of the Post and that he was campaigning on the property. Which is a violation of the nation organization. When the veterans heard out that they tried to warn him, they were some distance from him. When they started yelling to him, say hey, you’re not suppose to be doing that in some form or fashion. I teach constitutional law. In the constitution there’s voting rights. There’s nothing in there about campaigning. You don’t have a right to campaign. The privilege that is covered under General Statute 163 in North Carolina is a privilege. Just merely watching the video of the assault will prove Commander Kilby wrong in his apparent limited opinion of the event and misinforming the Board of what actually happened that day. For the record ADA Langan even confirms there was an assault by stating “Victim” on the dismissal. Regardless, the fact is Kilby was informed by Dir. Perry of the state law that governs the polling location. Kibly still insists he has not been given anything the covers the rights of individuals to be on the property. Apparently, Kilby’s constitutional teaching ability is limited to what only he believes or understands. A check with Forsyth Tech his employer is that he is not a teacher at the Community College. Still this is a last ditch attempt for Commander Kilby to persuade or as the Executive Director put it co-opt the authority of the board and keep the polling site at the Post. Durward Bennett now has to comply with the law as instructed by the State Board of Election and makes a motion to move the location. Chairperson Robert Robinson states, “we feel like this has been taken out of our hands and it is now in the hands of the State Board of Elections, we feel like we have no choice except to move it. … I have a letter here from the state board that says we need to find another voting place it is because of a statute a General Statute that says, Mr. Hewett has a right to campaign on the property.” You can hear their defiance in their voice, but the General Statute is the law and they have no choice but to follow the letter of the law! If they had it their way, they violate the law as much as possible to further their party’s agenda. The final vote was 3-0 only because they were forced to comply with the law and move the voting location to the King Public Library which had to be unanimous in order too pass as per current state law.
§ 163-166.4. § 163-166.1 § 163-48 2016-11-16 2016-11-21 2017-05-08 2017-08-17 2017-08-15 2017-07-31 2017-07-31.1 2017-07-11 2017-05-10 2017-08-22 2017-07-11 § 163-166.4.