A couple of bills filed recently by state senators would change state election laws in hopes of rectifying issues that arose in the 2020 election in North Carolina.
The first bill would address the deadline for counting absentee ballots in an election. Before the 2020 election, absentee ballots were required by NC law to be counted by three days after Election Day. Then, a secret deal cut by the State Board of Elections a few months before the 2020 election ignored state law and extended that time period to nine days after Election Day, causing critics to cry foul and wonder if the longer time period would open the door to a higher chance of voting fraud mischief.
The new legislation pushed by state Senators Paul Newton, Ralph Hise and Warren Daniel would require absentee ballots to be received by 5 PM on Election Day or the day of the primary election. The new bill would also change the deadline for absentee ballot requests from 7 days before the election to 14 days out.
The bill also would spend $5 million to identify people who don’t have Voter IDs and help them get one so they could vote in person when and if Voter ID laws finally get through the judicial system.
Then late last week, the same three state Senators unleashed a second bill to “Prohibit Collusive Settlements with the Attorney General.” The legislation would require legislative leaders to be able to sign-off on any settlement to which the legislature is a party. It directly addresses the secret settlement that State Board of Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell and NC Attorney General Josh Stein signed off on last year that changed the number of days after Election Day absentee ballots could be counted and went counter to NC law.
Senator Paul Newton remarked, “This bill is intended to make sure no elections director, whether Ms. Brinson Bell or someone else, ever has the power to secretly execute a mid-election law change via secret settlement with political allies.” That’s right. One of the most outrageous parts of what the Elections Director and Stein did last fall was putting together the settlement they worked out with National Democrat Party attorney Marc Elias after voting had already begun.
State Elections Director Bell is supposed to be impartial. However, since being appointed by Governor Cooper, her administration of the State Board of Elections with its majority Democrat board has been anything but impartial.
Secret deals that go directly against state law are wrong. Hats off to the Reform Majority for working to enact election reform measures that attempt to clean up a mess that stinks to high Heaven!