If you can remember all the way back to the December 2017 NC General Assembly (NCGA) special session, you'll recall that among the bills passed to shift power from the Executive Branch (aka governor) to the Legislative Branch (aka NCGA) was one that merged and recomposed the NC State Board of Elections (BoE) and NC Ethics Board; it also changed the composition of county BoEs from three members (two from the governor's party) to four (two from each party). Court cases ensued and continue. Learn about the background, history, and current status of the NC Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement: N&O: NC governor & GOP power struggle; NC Policy Watch: Deadlocks, discord, compromise; N&O: Board members struggle.
While the court case continues, there is work to be done for upcoming elections. The NC BoE:
- Appoints county board members and election directors
- Certifies election equipment for use by the counties
- Investigates possible violations of elections, ethics and lobbying laws
- Hears appeals of county election board decisions on matters such as one-stop early voting plans, candidate challenges and election protests
- Orders new elections under appropriate circumstances
- Adopts administrative rules in the areas of elections, campaign finance, ethics and lobbying (NC Policy Watch).
Local election boards set schedules and sites for early voting and election day and oversee local conduct of elections. There is concern that in moving from three to four (two of each party) members, these county BoEs will live in continual deadlock; that remains to be seen. NC Policy Watch, the BoE battle.
What can YOU do? Connect with your county BoE. You can find their members, staff and meeting schedule on their website, links are here. Attend a meeting, see how they work, let them know that voters are paying attention and care about transparency, fair elections, and access to the ballot box!