The Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Elections resigned Tuesday after backlash from a joke he made at a conference earlier this week comparing women to cows that refuse sex.
Bob Cordle, a Democrat appointed to the helm by Gov. Roy Cooper, tendered his resignation effective immediately. He is the second Cooper appointee to resign amid criticism about their behavior — Andy Penry left the post after making critical comments about President Donald Trump online.
“I sincerely apologize to those who heard my joke at the elections conference on Monday and all those affected by my words,” Cordle said in his resignation letter. “I thank you for the privilege to serve my state and the citizens of North Carolina in this important position and wish my fellow board members, Executive Director Brinson Bell and State Board staff success in upcoming elections.”
WRAL first reported the story, and Wake County Board of Elections member Gerry Cohen, who was at the elections conference Cordle spoke at, told the TV station his remarks were “an extremely lengthy dirty joke” that was “misogynistic and wildly inappropriate for a high-ranking state official to tell … to kick off a training session of 600 election officials and administrators.”
Cooper, who accepted Cordle’s resignation Tuesday, will appoint the next Chairman, but it’s unclear how soon. Whomever takes over will be the fourth chair of the Board in eight months, since the structure changed after litigation.
Cooper’s spokesman, Ford Porter, thanked Cordle for his service in an emailed statement to the media.
“The State Board of Elections needs to continue its important work without distraction to ensure the integrity of our electoral process,” he said.
Cordle’s departure comes as the State Board is set to make a decision about certifying voting systems ahead of the 2020 elections. He had voted against postponing the decision on which systems to certify so that the Board could adopt stricter requirements to bolster election security.
It was a 3-2 vote Monday night, but the Board gave notice Tuesday of another planned meeting for Thursday morning to rescind that vote. Cordle said in response to the course reversal that fellow Board member David Black, a Republican, had misunderstood the repercussions of voting for the motion and wanted to instead proceed with the certification process.
Without Cordle’s vote at the meeting, the Board could be deadlocked in its next decision about certification.
The meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday in the boardroom on the 3rd Floor of the Dobbs Building, 430 N. Salisbury Street, in Raleigh. Members of the public can attend in-person or listen to audio of the meeting by calling 213-929-4212 (code 757-613-568).
Read Cordle’s letter of resignation below.