Under the cynical disguise of “bipartisanship,” S.B. 749 would change the structure of the State Board of Elections (NCSBE) and County Board of Elections (CBOE). The State Board would increase to eight members if this bill becomes law, with four picked by Democratic lawmakers and four picked by Republican lawmakers — it would be similar at the county level, but with 4 members instead of 8.
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North Carolina already has functional, bipartisan elections boards. S.B. 749 is both unnecessary and misleading. The last five governors, from both parties, have opposed a similar, less far-reaching change.
The people of North Carolina have already rejected this type of total election takeover and past attempts by the legislature to overhaul the elections board have been struck down in court as unconstitutional. Voters rejected these changes on the ballot in 2018 with 61% of the vote. Throughout state history, constitutional amendments have rarely ever failed to pass. But that one did; nearly two-thirds of voters opposed it.
SB 749 will deadlock state and county boards in ways that are costly, chaotic, and calamitous to elections. Instead of the current clear path for making decisions, deadlocked state and local decisions can tie up everything – moving a polling place, deciding early voting plans, hearing a voter’s eligibility challenge, blocking corruption investigations, and more.