The shocking departure comes six weeks before election day in a state of turbulent wars, a day after a five-member panel said it had unanimously agreed to a settlement that is yet to be approved by the court. An inquiry into the settlement is set for October 2, which will allow postmarked votes to be received six days later on election day.
In a statement, the board said it appreciated the service of two resigned members, Ken Raymond and David Black, but the consensus agreement was that “before last week’s closed session meeting and after consultation with all board members from the agency’s lawyers and case advisers,” the agency’s legal staff are civil servants. Prior to each board meeting, they provide the board with full legal notes and answer any questions the committee members may have about what comes before the board. “
Raymond said he “can’t continue with good sense (sic).” Black said the board’s latest decision was “unacceptable” to be a member.
Following the resignations, the state GOP chairman said, “It is appalling that (government) Roy Cooper and (Attorney General) Josh Stein have set up a completely discriminatory measure on the Electoral Board – which is in the process of transforming the whole of North Carolina Electoral Rules have already begun.”
“After the shameful tactics of the Democrats, it is absolutely appropriate for Republican members to protest and resign, and we will soon submit appropriate alternatives,” said NCGOP chairman Michael Watley.
Justin Clark, the deputy campaign manager for President Donald Trump, said Black and Raymond had “taken a bold stand” with their resignation.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest, a North Carolina lieutenant, wrote a letter to Republican Attorney General William Barr asking him to “investigate the collective attack on the integrity of the North Carolina elections.” The forest is currently running for governor.
However, Stein called the resignations “politically destructive.”
“The proposed approval order is a negotiated compromise response to the biggest public health crisis in 100 years, a reduction in USPS mail delivery and a federal court order compelling the process of healing mail in voting errors,” Stein said. “I’m confident that all eligible voters in North Carolina will be able to vote easily and securely by mail or in person – and the candidate with the most votes will win.”
The Governor of North Carolina appoints members to the State Election Board from a list of candidates submitted by Democratic and Republican leaders. North Carolina law prevents the Board of Elections from having more than three members in the same political party.
As of Thursday morning, the total number of absentee ballot applications in North Carolina exceeded 1 million.
According to data released by the Electoral Board, 1,002,874 ballot requests were received for the November general election, compared to 85,261 in 2016. Democratic demands drop Republican demands from two to more than one.
Since Friday, Sept. 4, state election officials have begun sending ballots to voters. Since then, more than 198,000 votes have been returned to election officials.
This story has been updated to add additional reporting and feedback.
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