The North Carolina Republican Party called out Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper on Sunday for his announced plan to illegally appoint members of the newly formed State Board of Elections.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement (NCSBE), the state agency that refused to certify the election of Republican Mark Harris as the winner of the 9th Congressional District race, was dissolved at noon on Friday, December 28, 2018. The NCSBE was governed by a nine member board, all appointed by the governor. Four were Democrats, four were Republicans, and one was ostensibly “unaffiliated,” but aligned with Democrats.
Harris won the November 6 election over Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, according to results certified by the election boards in all eight counties that comprise the district. But on November 28 the NCSBE, the only state agency with authority to certify the election results that authorize the new session of the House of Representatives to seat members from North Carolina when it convenes in Washington, DC, this Thursday, refused to certify Harris as the winner, citing “election irregularities.”
The NCSBE orginally scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the investigation for December 21, one week before the agency was scheduled to be dissolved, but, inexplicably, in early December rescheduled that hearing for January 11, two weeks after it was scheduled to go out of business.
A three judge panel rebuked the NCSBE on Thursday, December 27, for its failure to conclude its investigation into allegations of election irregularities in that race in a timely manner, and refused to extend the life of the NCSBE beyond its statutory demise, which had previously been extended to December 28.
As a consequence, all matters related to election oversight are now governed by a new five member State Board of Elections, under HB 1029, a law enacted on December 27 when the North Carolina State Legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto.
As WSVB reported:
The court order requiring the previous board to dissolve came despite a request from the then-NCSBE Chairman to the panel to allow the current board to remain in existence as it investigates allegations of election fraud in the 9th Congressional District that kept the board from certifying the results of that race.
A hearing in the matter had been scheduled by the board for January 11, 2019. Originally, the hearing was supposed to take place by December 21, 2018.
On Friday, Cooper announced his intention to appoint a temporary Board of Elections for the month of January until a new permanent board could be appointed under new legislation that officially became law Thursday morning.
Cooper’s office has said he would appoint Republicans to the temporary board from the four who sat on the NCSBE that was dissolved by the court.