Gov. Cooper’s Board of Elections May Have Violated Another Federal Court Order by Refusing to Act on ANY Deficient Ballots

After two federal judges rebuked Gov. Cooper’s Board for changing election law after ballots already cast, Board orders stop on ALL deficient absentee ballots

Raleigh, N.C. — The N.C. State Board of Elections, which is controlled by Gov. Roy Cooper, was following the law and an order from federal Judge William Osteen until Sept. 22, 2020.

On that date, the Board entered into a secret settlement agreement with Democratic Party super-lawyer Marc Elias to effectively eliminate the witness requirement for absentee ballots, permit ballots found in anonymous outdoor drop boxes, and triple the time period after Election Day within which ballots may be received. More than 100,000 ballots had already been cast when the Board changed election law.

Since Sept. 22, two different federal judges have strongly rebuked the Gov. Cooper-controlled Board’s actions. But instead of returning to the agreed-upon, and legal, pre-Sept. 22 set of rules, Gov. Cooper’s Board yesterday ordered its staff to stop acting on all deficient absentee ballots.

This act may violate Judge William Osteen’s Aug. 4 order, which required the Gov. Cooper-controlled Board to allow voters to fix problems with absentee ballots that are “subject to remediation.” Additionally, Judge Dever’s Oct. 3 order explicitly declined to enjoin or block the original rules issued by the Board of the Elections and “is intended to maintain the status quo.”

Instead of simply returning to the original agreed-upon set of rules that was in place up until Sept. 22, Gov. Cooper’s Board may have violated a federal court’s order and risked disenfranchising thousands of voters.

Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “The Board of Elections keeps making a bad situation worse. Instead of following the law, the Gov. Cooper-controlled Board has now issued four sets of conflicting rules since voting began. The latest rule change may violate a federal court’s order. This chaos is unacceptable. Gov. Cooper’s Board must return to its original plan of following the law and stop changing the rules of the election while voting is already underway.”

Sen. Berger continued, “Attorney General Stein is now appealing Judge Dever’s ruling. Why are the Democrats fighting so hard to rewrite election law after ballots have already been cast? Why can’t they just follow the law and their own Aug. 21 rules?”

The Gov. Cooper-controlled Board’s latest rule change risks disenfranchising thousands of voters. State law allows Gov. Cooper’s Board to contact voters who submit absentee ballots with deficient witness information, explain why the ballot is deficient, and send the voter a new ballot to do it over again. That’s the procedure the Gov. Cooper-controlled Board of Elections followed until Sept. 22.

Now, Gov. Cooper’s Board has prohibited action on all deficient absentee ballots, which means a voter who submitted a faulty ballot and plans to leave the state through Election Day won’t have a chance to fix it.

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

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