Explainer: Republican Objections to Collusive Board of Elections Settlement

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Raleigh, N.C. — There’s been a firehose of information about the controversial settlement between the Democratic Party-controlled N.C. Board of Elections and Democratic Party lawyer Marc Elias that undoes absentee ballot fraud protections. Here’s an explainer outlining the Republican objections.

Bottom line: The Board of Elections and Attorney General Josh Stein secretly negotiated with Democratic Party super-lawyer Marc Elias to change election laws while the election is actively underway.

The Board of Elections does not have the authority to rewrite election laws.

  • The General Assembly, nearly unanimously, overhauled the state’s election laws following the 2018 absentee ballot fraud scandal that undid the results of a Congressional election.
  • Then, the General Assembly again nearly unanimously revised those tightened laws to make voting easier during the pandemic.
  • National Democrats and Democrats on the Board of Elections have long sought to change components of those duly enacted statutes.
  • A federal judge and a state three-judge panel have already denied legal attempts by national Democrats to undo the absentee ballot protection laws.
  • In an apparent move of last resort, Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein and Democrats on the Board of Elections secretly negotiated with national Democrats to “settle” one of those lawsuits.
  • Legislative Republicans are also defendants in the lawsuit, but Stein and the Board of Elections concealed their secret negotiations from them.
  • The resulting collusive settlement grants many of the changes to law that national Democrats and Democrats on the Board of Elections have long sought by undoing election laws that the legislature enacted.
  • The U.S. Constitution states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”
  • Only the legislature can write election laws. An unelected executive branch agency cannot undo them or rewrite them.

The collusive settlement permits ballots to be placed in anonymous, unsupervised outdoor drop boxes.

  • Page 40 of the collusive settlement reads, “a county board may not disapprove a ballot solely because it is placed in a drop box.”
  • Elsewhere in the collusive settlement, and in public communications, the Board of Elections and Stein have argued that anonymous outdoor drop boxes are not permitted.
  • They’re talking out of both sides of their mouths. Anonymous outdoor drop boxes are “not permitted,” but ballots placed in outdoor anonymous drop boxes will count. It makes no sense.
  • Regardless of what the Democrats claim, the outcome here is clear and in writing: Ballots found in anonymous drop boxes will be counted.
  • If anonymous outdoor drop boxes had been utilized by the illegal ballot harvesters in 2018, then it’s likely the fraud would never have been discovered.

The collusive settlement effectively eliminates the requirement for a witness to sign an absentee ballot.

  • To address concerns about the 2018 absentee ballot fraud scandal, the legislature voted nearly unanimously to require two witnesses to sign their names for an absentee ballot to count.
  • Then, because of the pandemic, the General Assembly again nearly unanimously voted to drop the requirement for two witnesses down to one witness.
  • Until the Board’s recent action, an absentee ballot that did not include the required witness information was discarded and the Board sent a brand new ballot to the voter to get it right.
  • The collusive settlement throws out that process. Under the terms, if the Board receives an absentee ballot without the required witness information, the Board simply emails a form to the voter to sign, also without any witness information.
  • Stein and other Democrats falsely claim the witness requirement is still in effect, but again, they’re talking out of both sides of their mouths. Here’s what a Democratic Board of Elections member said during closed session when discussing the collusive settlement: “We are exempting them from the witness requirement. This is problematic.”
  • The outcome here is clear: Absentee ballots without required witness information will count without the voter ever having to obtain a witness.
  • Attorney General Josh Stein even went a step further, recommending that the Board “consider” whether voters can “simultaneously” submit their witness-less ballot and the form.
  • This makes a mockery of the entire process and cements the reality that absentee ballots will be counted with no witness information.

The Board of Elections never authorized Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell to agree to the terms of the collusive settlement.

  • The minutes of the closed door session of the Board of Elections discussing the settlement include, in writing, the terms the members agreed to:
  • “Witness and assistant requirement — must remain in effect and in full force,” and
  • “No unmanned ballot drop boxes allowed.”
  • As even a Democratic member of the Board of Elections conceded, the collusive settlement is “exempting them [voters] from the witness requirement.”
  • And unmanned drop boxes are allowed under the collusive settlement because ballots found in them will count. If unmanned drop boxes aren’t allowed, then how can it possibly be that absentee ballots placed in unmanned drop boxes will count?

The official Medium account for N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press office.

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