Courts & the Law, News

Cooper appoints AJ Fletcher’s Circosta to Elections, Ethics Board

Gov. Roy Cooper didn’t waste any time appointing a ninth member to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

He named Damon Circosta to the seat less than a day after the newly-appointed eight members of the Board nominated him and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Burley Mitchell.

“It’s unbelievable to watch Republicans try to rig the rules of a system they’ve already gamed,” said Cooper’s spokesman, Ford Porter. “Damon Circosta is a qualified choice who was put forward unanimously by the Democrats and Republicans on the board.”

The eight Board members — four Democrats and four Republicans — met for the first time Wednesday after Cooper appointed them the previous Friday. They deadlocked five times along party lines before compromising on Circosta, the Democrats’ choice, and Mitchell, the Republicans’ choice.

NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse tweeted after Cooper’s appointment that they were disappointed he would reject a a former Chief Justice associated with the Democratic Party.

“Democrat Election Board members fought transparency, openness and inclusion, and rejected efforts to reach TRUE consensus,” his tweet stated.

Circosta is the Executive Director and Vice President of the AJ Fletcher Foundation. [Disclosure: Policy Watch was originally founded as a project of the Fletcher Foundation in 2004 and became a part of the North Carolina Justice Center in 2007. The Justice Center remains a Fletcher Foundation grantee.]

It’s not yet clear when the full Board will have it’s first meeting, but members said Wednesday there was a significant backlog of work that needed to get done after the Board remained vacant for more than a year.

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