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The NCGA had "skeletal" non-voting sessions on Monday afternoon because of the weather. As Michelle posted on Monday, restructuring the NC Board of Elections (BoE) is a high priority because of the December 12 court deadline. Update: The BoE chair requested another delay from the court so they can complete their investigation. Colin Campbell tweeted on Monday:

Update from David Lewis, Monday, 10:43pm:

We assume (which we should never do with this NCGA) that the conference committee report will be identical to HB 1117. Per Stronger NC, this bill will:

  • Require the boards to 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 County District Attorney’s office and into the local prosecutorial district where the candidate lives. This is obviously a conflict-of-interest concern considering the problems occuring in the 2018 NC CD-09 Congressional race.
  • Eliminate the constitutional amendment publication commission that writes ballot language and was the source of contention with the legislature as they attempted to put six constitutional amendments with misleading wording on the ballot in November.

TAKE ACTION NOW!!! The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday at 3pm and may consider the conference report. Contact the NC House Elections & Ethics Law Committee (cut and paste all the hyperlinked names into your email) and your NC House representative and NC senator to urge changes to the above provisions.

Since we don't know yet what else (if anything) is coming this week, we'll catch up on what's happening in NC CD-9 - which is intertwined with the BoE.

  • The proposed legislation restructering the BoE intertwines with the election fraud election, as it includes a continuation of this provision that's been law since 2016: "In the even-numbered year, the chair shall be a member of the political party with the second highest number of registered affiliates as reflected by the latest registration statistics published by the State Board." This means Republicans would control county BoEs in every election year and could effectively shutter the current investigation. NC GOP wants law to let GOP control elections.
  • The Bladen County investigation has extended into neighboring Robeson County.
  • Another member of the Bladen County BoE has resigned. That leaves two.
  • Republicans in the NCGA are calling on Gov Cooper to create a "bipartisan task force" to investigate Bladen County absentee voting going back to previous elections (Kay Hagan's and Roy Cooper's), in addition to the multiple investigations underway (NC BoE, Wake County DA, SBI). “'Governor Cooper believes North Carolinians should have confidence in the integrity of elections and allegations of fraud and tampering must be investigated,' said a spokesman, Ford Porter. 'There are multiple ongoing criminal investigations, and legislators should allow investigators and prosecutors to follow the facts and take appropriate action.'” (NYT).
  • Democrat Dan McCready withdrew his concession.
  • Changes the Republicans made to absentee voting in 2013 may have contributed to this, though they were seen as positive by Democrats, as well.
  • What's next?
  • Good national summaries and analyses:
    • Politico, Distrustful, Desperate and Forgotten: A recipe for election fraud
    • Slate, The GOP is using Republican fraud in NC to try to punish Democrats

For comic relief (kind of), come up with your dream cast for this new thriller, Bladen Runner! William Macy has to play McRae Dowless, IMHO. Who will play the intrepid young reporter caught up in his first national story (aka Joe Bruno)? The crusty retired insider who knows all the rules (aka Gerry Cohen)? The bow-tied academic who first uncovered the pattern buried deep in the data (aka Michael Bitzer)? What role will Viola Davis play (because she has to be in it)? Maybe Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates as unwitting helpers duped by the nefarious "ballot harvester." I see a blockbuster here.

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