Friday, December 28, 2018

State Court dissolves North Carolina elections board with election fraud scandal still under investigation

By Dylan Dec 28, 2018

For the past few weeks, the North Carolina elections board has been trying to sort out the results of the state’s Ninth Congressional District election, tainted by allegations of ballot tampering. But a court decision will lead to the board suddenly dissolving on Friday because of a prior legal challenge already underway.

The elections board was supposed to meet on January 11 to review evidence of possible electoral fraud connected to a local operative who worked for the Republican campaign of Mark Harris. But a state court ruled that the board — currently with an even number of Democrats and Republicans, plus one nonpartisan member — must cease operations after previously finding it unconstitutional, part of a legal fight that started in 2016.

So now there is chaos in North Carolina, with the Ninth District race still uncalled and the new Congress being sworn in next week. We’re really not sure what happens next. Michael Bitzer, a well-regarded political observer in the state, was himself at a bit of a loss for words.


The court case that killed the board has nothing to do with the Ninth District controversy. Read Bitzer’s blog post for a fuller history, but the short version is this: Republicans, having lost the governorship to Democrat Roy Cooper in 2016, passed legislation in a lame-duck session that, among other things, changed the make-up of the elections board (from one that gave the governor a partisan advantage to one that is evenly divided) in a bid to curb Cooper’s power.

A series of court challenges has found the board, and subsequent versions of it, unconstitutional, though the current board was still allowed in place to oversee the 2018 midterms. But the state court found it unconstitutional again, even as professional staff continue the inquiry into the Ninth District election, and ruled Friday that it must disband.


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