North Carolina Elections Official Resigns Amidst Scandal

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North Carolina elections remain in a state of turmoil this weekend, with the newly announced resignation of the chairman of the state elections board following a furor over what’s been described as a lengthy, misogynistic joke that he opened a recent state conference with. Apparently, the “joke” compared women to cows who “refused to be impregnated.” That now former chairman Robert Cordle was an appointee of the state’s Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, and his departure means that with the eventual announcement of his successor the board will be on its fourth chairperson in less than a year.

The board itself didn’t even exist for almost a whole year while “Cooper and the Republican-controlled legislature fought a series of lawsuits over control of board appointments,” local media explains.

The board’s perhaps most noted agenda item recently has been dealing with the fraud-ridden Congressional race in North Carolina’s district 9. At first following polls closing in November 2018, it appeared as though Republican candidate Mark Harris had beat Democratic challenger Dan McCready by a small margin — but soon it emerged that a team working for the Harris side had broken the law via collecting absentee ballots and even sometimes completing them on alleged behalf of voters. Rounds of criminal charges have already been unveiled in that ongoing investigation, and the elections board has ordered a new election which will be taking place this September. Harris is not running again; instead, state Senator Dan Bishop became the Republican Party’s nominee following a primary election in May.

The state elections board is also dealing with the implementation of new standards for voting machines, and with Cordle’s absence the board will be apparently indefinitely locked from moving forward on that measure because of the subsequent even split between Republicans and Democrats. Cordle was a Democrat, making the previous breakdown 3-2 between the parties. Democrats have supported demanding that state machines “produce hand-marked ballots,” while Republicans are not so strict. The debate mirrors one on the national level, where in Congress one of the election security bills that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently helped block would have provided for paper ballots across the country, which are theorized at least as less susceptible to being messed with. Currently, about “a third of North Carolina’s voters live in counties that use touchscreen machines,” again according to local media.

Going forward — McCready has actually polled as within striking distance of Bishop’s candidacy in the generally “red” area. Bishop has managed 46 percent of support, while McCready had 42 percent, and in that case the margin of error was 5.2 percent and a whopping 10 percent of voters registered as undecided. The Cook Political Report currently takes the 9th Congressional district race as a “Toss-up.”

As Democrats hope to keep their majority in the House come 2020, a large array of seats are currently rated as toss-ups by that same report. Still — national polls have leading Democratic presidential primary candidates consistently far ahead of Trump in terms of bases of support, so down-ballot Democrats could have a boost.

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