Restructuring of the NC Board of Elections has been going on for at least two years. There was a two board system (NC State Board of Elections and NC State Board of Ethics). Then in 2016 they merged into the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. This was about more than a simple organizational change as the legislative branch pulled more power away from the executive branch. (Read more about the ongoing power struggle between the two branches here.) The history of the the NC Board of Elections is enough to make your head spin as the matter came in and out of court, was written into law through HB90, was added to the November ballot as a Constitutional Amendment (which voters voted AGAINST), and has now been reintroduced this week as HB1117. Read more about the troubled recent history of the NC Board of Elections.

Under HB1117, the State Board of Elections would have a five-member board appointed by the Governor: three members of his own party and two members of the other major party (picked from lists recommended by party leaders). The State Board of Ethics, Lobbying, and Campaign Finance would be bipartisan with eight members. Four would be appointed by the Governor (no more than two from the same party) and four appointed by the General Assembly (no more than two from the same party). Read more here including about the county level boards.

HB1117 has not been scheduled to be heard by committee yet, but it is anticipated to be on the schedule for Tuesday or Wednesday.

Per Stronger NC here are some of the potential concerns regarding HB1117 and this power grab by the GOP. They will

Require the boards be chaired by a Republican in even numbered years, when elections occur. This would grant the GOP power over all decisions made at the county board level during elections.
Move state political investigations away from the Wake Co. District Attorney’s office and into the local prosecutorial district where the candidate lives. This is obviously a concern considering the problems occuring in Bladen Co. and the 2018 NC09 Congressional race.

TAKE ACTION NOW!!! Contact your NC House rep and House Elections & Ethics Law committee to urge changes.

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