Argyle man questions how supervisors voted

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The Washington County Board of Supervisors listened to personal questions in regard to their voting habits posed by Merle Nichols of Argyle in consecutive monthly meetings. (Photo by Austin Crosier)

In consecutive meetings of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, an Argyle man has exercised Argyle supervisor Bob Henke’s “privilege of the floor” to question the 17 county supervisors on if they voted and who for.

The gentleman, identified by Henke as Merle Nichols, made his debut at the county meeting on Aug. 19 when he asked all the supervisors if they had voted in 2016 and/or 2020, and who for.

Of the 17 supervisors, only two raised their hands on Aug. 19: Dana Haff of Hartford and Matt Hicks of Granville.

Haff openly answered Nichols and said he voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 while Hicks said he voted in both elections but said he would not tell Nichols who he voted for.

County attorney Roger Wickes stepped in informing Nichols that the supervisors did not need to tell him their private choices and voting history.

On Sept. 16, Nichols returned and was granted Henke’s privilege of the floor once again to speak to the board, but also asked board chair Sam Hall of Fort Ann if Wickes “had the right to interrupt” Nichols in August.

“He (Wickes) gives us our legal guidance,” Hall said. “If he wants to interrupt, he can go to you (Hall) and you can interrupt me, okay?” Nichols said.

Nichols asked the board if any of them voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, to which there was no response.

“So our poll then, two for Trump and zero for Biden. That’s an unofficial poll,” Nichols said.

Hampton supervisor Dave O’Brien spoke out against Nichols’ actions at the most recent meeting, citing the assumption that without a response to his question of voting for Biden that nobody voted for Biden.

“I take humbridge to you coming here and asking us about our political views and our political votes. Our votes are privileged. What we vote is not public knowledge if people do not want to say so,” O’Brien said. “I think the right to vote matters and so does personal choice.”

“I’m just asking a question, whether you want to answer it or not is up to you,” Nichols said.

After being informed he used three of his allotted five minutes to speak with O’Brien and Wickes, Nichols hurried back to the podium and asked the board if they believed in “the big lie” or if they were “mega Republican.”

Haff raised his hand and said: “Ultra-MAGA (Make America Great again).”

Before leaving the meeting, Nichols said he would be back at the Oct. 21 meeting with more questions to ask and left a copy of the U.S. Constitution.