Friday, November 30, 2018

BREAKING: State BOE Moves Toward Evidentiary Hearing on Bladen County

At the State Board of Elections minutes ago, Democratic member Joshua Malcolm moved for an evidentiary hearing on the irregularities involving absentee ballots in the 9th Congressional District before December 21. The vote was 7-2, so at least two Republicans voted for the motion.

In other words, the election of Republican Mark Harris is still uncertified.

Watauga County's own Four Eggers was one of the two Republicans to vote for Malcolm's motion.

In a letter to the NCSBE Chair, NC Democratic Party attorney John Wallace urged the board to delay certification of the Harris election, and he outlined additional reasons for an investigation (via Jim Morrill in the Charlotte Observer):
...Bladen County had the highest percentage of absentee ballot requests in the state. There, 7.5 percent of registered voters requested absentee ballots. In most counties it was less than 3 percent.
An analysis by Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer suggested more aberrations.
In seven of the eight counties in the 9th District, for example, McCready won a lopsided majority of the mailed-in absentee ballots. But not in Bladen County. There, Republican Mark Harris won 61 percent even though registered Republicans accounted for only 19 percent of the county’s accepted absentee ballots.
Unaffiliated voters accounted for 39 percent. Bitzer said Harris’ margin “could potentially come from all those unaffiliated voters.”
“But to have each and every one of those unaffiliated voters vote Republican, that’s pretty astonishing,” he added. “If that’s the case, there’s a very concerted effort to use that method to one candidate’s advantage. . . . But at that level there’s something else beyond a concerted effort that could be at work.”


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina judges have delayed the enforcement of their ruling that struck down the latest iteration of the state elections board. 
The extension from the three-judge panel came late Friday.
The judges ruled in October that the board’s composition doesn’t give Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper the control that’s warranted to him over an executive agency. They had put off the board’s termination until Dec. 3, but now it won’t happen until noon Dec. 12. 
GOP leaders had asked the judges for at least another 30 days so they could pass a new elections board law and let the current board work on resolving the pending 9th Congressional District election. The current nine-member board said Friday it would hold an evidentiary hearing on the 9th District by Dec. 21.

So ... sports fans, the 9-member SBOE will stay empaneled for a little longer to resolve this election. But even that is complicated somewhat by a complaint (justified, in our opinion) filed against the Democratic chair of the SBOE, Andy Penry. Penry, in his capacity as chair of a board assembled to guarantee non-partisan administration of elections, should not have been tweeting such partisan material.

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