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Cooper announces new Board of Elections members

Gov. Roy Cooper has officially appointed five new members to the State Board of Elections.

Members are:

  • Democratic member Stella Anderson, of Boone. She was the Board Chair of the Watauga County Board of Elections from 2005 to 2013 and previously served on the most recent State Board. She is currently a professor at Appalachian State University.
  • Republican member David C. Black, of Concord. He currently serves as the President of H & B Tool & Die Supply. He also served as Chair of the Cabarrus County Board of Elections.
  • Democratic member Jeff Carmon III, of Durham. He is an attorney at the CW Law Group and practices in the areas of personal injury and criminal law.
  • Democratic member Bob Cordle, of Charlotte. Cordle previously served on the State Board  and practiced law in Charlotte from 1968 to 2018, before retiring from Mayer Brown LLP.
  • Republican Ken Raymond, of Winston Salem. He is a freelance writer and works at the Piedmont Triad Airport. He also served as the Chair of the Forsyth County Board of Elections and on the most recent State Board.

The previous nine-member State Board was dissolved in late December after a three-judge panel found that it was unconstitutionally constituted by the GOP-led legislature. The new members have their work cut out for them.

The Board had been investigating alleged absentee ballot fraud in the 9th congressional district, and the agency has continued to investigate. The new Board will ultimately decide what happens in that race.

“North Carolinians deserve fair and honest elections, and I am confident this board will work to protect our electoral process,” Cooper said in a news release announcing the new members.

The Board is expected to hold an evidentiary hearing in February to decide whether to certify a winner or to order a new election, according to spokesman Pat Gannon. The date of the hearing has not been set.

The State Board also must appoint four of the five members to each of the state’s 100 county boards of elections, and the Governor appoints the fifth member, who will serve as chair. It’s also working to implement new voter identification requirements, which will take effect for the 2019 municipal elections, unless otherwise directed by the courts.

The state’s voters added the voter ID mandate to the N.C. Constitution in the November general election and prescribes steps the State Board and county boards of elections must take in the coming months to implement the requirement and inform voters about it, according to Gannon.

Finally, the State Board must evaluate new voting equipment for formal state certification so county boards may purchase new machines to replace aging ones. The agency is engaged in a large-scale modernization of the statewide elections management system.

“We congratulate the new Board members and look forward to working with them to promote confidence in North Carolina elections,” said Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach. “We thank them for their willingness to serve North Carolina’s voters at this critical time.”

Under the new law, State Board members will serve through April 30, 2023, or until successors are appointed and qualified. They will also choose a new executive director to lead the agency.

In a separate situation, the Senate Rules and Operations Committee passed today a bill appointing members of the new State Ethics Commission. Senate Bill 7 still has to be approved by both chambers.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger appoints in the measure: Clarence Newsome, a Democrat and an Ahoskie native who is the former president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and former president of Shaw University; and Shirley Randleman, a Republican and former member of the General Assembly.

House Speaker Tim Moore appoints in the bill: Carl J. Steward Jr., a Democrat and former member of the General Assembly; and Thomas “Roger” West, a Republican from Cherokee County who is also a former member of the General Assembly.

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