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North Carolina’s elections board responds to federal probe

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(The Center Square) – The State Board of Elections in North Carolina responded Monday to an inquiry from the Judiciary Committee and House Administration Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The investigation was opened by federal lawmakers, led by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in response to the board denying ballot access to three political parties. Each exceeded the number of signatures required to qualify, but in the June 26 meeting, three Democrats voted against each while two Republicans were in favor.

On Tuesday, the Constitution Party was approved as the board met again. Still in limbo are the We the People Party and the Justice for All Party.

“On behalf of the State Board, I am writing to you to clarify the status of the petitions and the requirements of our state’s laws, and to provide documents and information about this subject,” wrote Paul Cox, general counsel for the board, in a document obtained by The Center Square.

The letter from the Judiciary Committee and the House Administration Committee, released on July 1, requested more “documents and information” about the board’s decision to deny ballot access to We the People Party, the Constitution Party, and the Justice for All Party.

“The Committee on House Administration and the Committee on the Judiciary are concerned that the NCSBE’s decision was politically motivated and may have been done to influence the 2024 presidential election by limiting the candidates for which voters may cast their ballots,” wrote Jordan and Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wisconsin, chairman of the House Administration Committee.

The federal committees requested:

• All documents and communications referring or relating to the NCSBE’s decision to bar certain candidates from the November ballot.

• All documents and communications referring or relating to the quality of the petitions filed by third-party organizations to appear on the ballot.

• All documents and communications between the NCSBE and third-party organizations concerning the NCSBE’s decision to deny the petitions.

The board refused to comply with the first and third requests.

“As explained above, the State Board has not made a ‘decision to bar certain candidates from the November ballot,’ nor has it made a ‘decision to deny the petitions.’ The Board’s final assessment of the sufficiency of these three new party petitions remains pending,” Cox wrote, on behalf of the committee. “Accordingly, there are no documents that respond to the committee chairs’ first and third requests.”

On Tuesday, the board approved the Constitution Party unanimously, but Democrats on the board once again delayed voting to approve the We the People Party and the Justice for All Party.

According to Cox, this is because of “third-party objections . . . based on their alleged failure to comply with requirements of the state’s ballot access laws.”

The board is now investigating the legitimacy of signatures the parties turned in.

“Those reports, which are being investigated, came from county board of elections staff who identified signs of potential fraud on signature pages and from voters who were listed on the petition but who stated they never signed it,” Cox said.

The board’s delayed approval has led to widespread backlash and accusations of bias, as adding those two parties would likely harm the Democrats. The Constitution Party is known for conservative values, while the other two would likely draw Democrat voters away from Biden.

“Democrats on the NC State Board of Elections are tipping the scale in favor of Biden, trying to control who’s on the ballot,” said the Fair Election Fund, a political action group concerned with “free and fair” elections. “By blocking competition, they’re blocking your voting rights.”

No date has yet been set for the next board meeting, which, according to Cox, will be in the next two weeks.

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