Commentary

Facebook post exposes sham nature of GOP’s manufactured Board of Elections controversy

In case you missed it over the weekend, be sure to check out the story posted late Friday in Raleigh’s News & Observer about the Republican attempt to manufacture a controversy over the State Board of Elections’ recent commonsense decision to ease some roadblocks involving absentee ballots. As reporters Will Doran and Danielle Battaglia reported, the two GOP members of the board who resigned were not necessarily doing so of their own volition. Rather, as the wife of one of the men reported in a Facebook post, they were following orders from Republican Party bosses when they resigned in response to changes that they, themselves, had voted for. This from the N&O story:

Those resignations, of board members Ken Raymond and David Black, came in the wake of several highly critical press releases from the state’s top Republican politicians. A party spokesman confirmed to The News & Observer that they also came after a phone call with the top lawyer for the state Republican Party to convey that the NC GOP was “very unhappy.”

…On Facebook, Black’s wife wrote that his resignation was “not voluntary.”Deb Black’s Facebook comment read: “The GOP chairman neglected to mention that these resignations were not voluntary. They were told to resign. Sad times when republicans are firing intelligent and trustworthy republicans.”

….Deb Black went on to question the “true agenda” of the Republican Party in her Facebook post. “A fine example of politics at its worst,” she wrote.

“She posted them,” David Black said. “A lot of what she wrote about is stuff that’s on the surface. I think, the best thing to do is to say that she loves me very much, and I love her very much and I appreciate some of the things she writes and sometimes she gets her hackles up.”

As this morning’s lead Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com points out, Ms. Black’s post helps demonstrate what a sham the whole manufactured controversy is:

It turns out that the only thing “collusive” in the ginned-up controversy over the State Board of Elections’ efforts to settle some mail-in ballot lawsuits was the false outrage from Republican Party and GOP leaders in the General Assembly. It was a desperate ploy gone awry. It revealed the shameful and phony efforts – from the president on down – to create baseless distrust in our election and the security of our ballots….

Republicans wrongly claimed the non-partisan Board of Elections staff, the Democrats on the board and staffers from state Attorney General Josh Stein’s office had conspired and failed to provide complete information – and that was why the board was able unanimously (that’s Democrats and Republicans agreeing) on steps to take to settle the legal action.

There is NO excusing the actions of the Republicans – who now seek to insert close allies of Berger’s on the state Board – former state Sen. Trudy Wade and former state Environmental Quality Secretary Donald van Der Vaart….

It is time for the state Republican Party’s leadership to to show it believes in fair elections and a voting process that does all it can to encourage those eligible to cast ballots. To the degree Republican are unhappy, their misery is self-inflicted.

This conniving and conning misfired. Rather than discrediting our elections or their political rivals, state Republican leaders showed their own true motives and actions.

As usual, state GOP leaders should be ashamed. And, as usual, we won’t hold our breath waiting for an apology.

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