N.C. elections board disbands, congressional race results still unknown

Gavel. Photo: Pxhere

Dec. 29 (UPI) — North Carolina’s state elections board dissolved on Friday by court order, with the governor set to name an interim board.

The nine-member board created by the state’s Republican-led general assembly was declared unconstitutional earlier this year by a panel of judges, who ordered a return to separate ethics and elections boards of five people and eight people, respectively. After several delays of implementation, the current joint ethics and elections board disbanded at noon on Friday.

Republican Gov. Roy Cooper announced his intention on Friday to name an interim elections board to serve until Jan. 31, when a new law restricting the elections board takes effect. He requested nominations of potential board members from Democratic and Republican party state chairs.

Cooper’s announcement came after North Carolina legislators on Thursday overrode his veto of a bill setting the deadline for separate boards on Jan. 31. He objected to a provision in the bill by which campaign finance violations could be kept out of the public eye.

Following the court order ends a years-long battle over the constitutionality of North Carolina’s election laws, but does not resolve the outcome of the election in the state’s 9th congressional district.

Republican Mark Harris currently holds a 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready, but the elections board refused to certify the results. It began an investigation into allegations that a contractor on the Harris campaign’s payroll paid workers to collect voters’ absentee ballots in the state’s rural Bladen and Robeson counties. In some cases, the workers allegedly went house-to-house to collect ballots that were to be mailed.

Before disbanding at noon on Friday, the board received an emergency petition from the Harris campaign to certify the results of the congressional election. It potentially clears the way for a legal battle, adding to the chaos over the vote.


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