Senator Berger Press Shop

Sep 23, 2020

4 min read

Sen. Hise: Upcoming Legal Battle Will Be the Defining Fight of 2020 N.C. Election

Cooper-controlled Board of Elections, through Dem AG candidate Josh Stein, colluded with national Dem group to rewrite election laws

Move to allow anonymous absentee ballot drop boxes, subvert absentee ballot witness requirements is a flagrant abuse of the legal system

Sen. Hise: “We’re witnessing a slow-motion mugging of North Carolina’s election integrity”

Raleigh, N.C. — Yesterday afternoon, the Democratic Party-controlled N.C. Board of Elections ambushed the Republican-controlled legislature by agreeing to a consent order with national Democrats to rewrite North Carolina election laws while the election is underway.

The collusive settlement will permit anonymous outdoor absentee ballot “drop boxes” and effectively eliminates the requirement that absentee ballots be signed by a witness. The settlement also violates state law by extending the deadline for receipt of absentee ballots to nine days after the election.

National Democrats sued to overturn laws governing the election that is already underway. Both the legislature and the N.C. Board of Elections are defendants. The Democratic Party-controlled Board of Elections, without consulting or notifying its co-defendant, the legislature, colluded with the Democratic plaintiffs to rewrite the election laws.

Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), who co-chairs the Senate Elections Committee, said, “This legal battle will be the defining fight of the North Carolina 2020 election. Every power player involved in this collusive settlement, from Gov. Cooper to Attorney General Stein to, potentially, Supreme Court Chief Justice Cherie Beasley will appear on the ballot this year. They’ve rewritten election laws while the election is actively underway. We’re witnessing a slow-motion mugging of North Carolina’s election integrity.”

This Democratic theft of North Carolina’s election integrity has been years in the making.

Right after Gov. Roy Cooper became governor, he sued to eliminate the bipartisan balance on the N.C. Board of Elections. He won his lawsuit, and he now fully controls the administration of the election even though he himself is a candidate.

After winning his lawsuit and taking control of the Board of Elections, his appointees summarily fired the widely respected Executive Director of the State Board of Elections, Kim Strach. Ms. Strach led the successful investigation into widespread absentee ballot fraud that caused the results of a 2018 Congressional election to be overturned.

Three of Gov. Cooper’s handpicked chairs of the State Board of Elections have already had to resign or leave under a cloud of suspicion. For example, former Board Chair Josh Malcolm left the Board after reports surfaced showing potentially illicit contact with key figures involved in the 2018 absentee ballot fraud scandal. Mr. Malcolm’s records are the subject of an ongoing public records lawsuit from WBTV after the Board of Elections and UNC Pembroke redacted or withheld responsive records from Mr. Malcolm’s tenure.

Now, in the midst of an election in which absentee ballots are already being returned, the scandal-plagued partisan Board of Elections entered into a collusive settlement with national Democrats to overturn election laws passed by a near-unanimous General Assembly.

Below is what the collusive settlement would do if approved:

1. Permit anonymous outdoor absentee ballot drop boxes. The law forbids anybody other than a voter or a voter’s near relative from delivering an absentee ballot and requires the Board of Elections to record who returns every ballot. But the collusive consent order allows outdoor “absentee ballot drop-off stations” and says, “a county board may not disapprove a ballot solely because it is placed in a drop box.” The Democratic-controlled Board was kind enough to request signs on the drop boxes that tell ballot harvesters they’re not really supposed to use them.

2. Eliminate witness requirements for absentee ballots. State law requires one witness to sign an absentee ballot and legibly include his or her name and address. But the collusive consent order effectively eliminates that requirement. If an absentee ballot is submitted without the required witness information, the Democratic-controlled Board of Elections will just mail a form to the address to which the ballot was sent, and the form can be returned with no witness information. The form can be returned nine days after the election.

3. Extend the time period in which an absentee ballot can be received by the Board to nine days after the election. State law requires absentee ballots to be received no later than three days after Election Day. This is to allow for a timely vote count and eliminate the possibility of “finding” enough “new” absentee ballots to sway the outcome of the election. But the collusive consent order unilaterally rewrites state law to provide nine full days of uncertainty and opportunity for gamesmanship after Election Day.