GOP elections board members resign over absentee settlement

Published 11:16 am Thursday, September 24, 2020

RALEIGH (AP) — The two Republican members of North Carolina’s state elections board have resigned after signing off on a settlement to help voters fix absentee ballot problems that has been criticized by state GOP leaders.

Ken Raymond and David Black announced their resignations late Wednesday from the North Carolina State Board of Elections over the tentative agreement to let voters correct problems with witness information on their absentee ballots without filling out an entirely new ballot. The agreement would let voters fix certain witness information problems by filling out an affidavit instead of starting a new ballot from scratch. Raymond and Black had joined the three Democratic state board members in unanimously approving the settlement, which was announced Tuesday and is subject to a judge’s approval.

In a letter announcing his resignation, Raymond argued that lawyers with the state attorney general’s office didn’t explain all the implications of the settlement before he signed off. Black also said in a separate letter that he didn’t have a full understanding of how the ballot fixes outlined in the settlement would work before he approved it.

A statement issued by state elections board spokesman Pat Gannon thanked the two for their service and said that the agency’s legal staff had explained the settlement to board members before they unanimously agreed to it.

Republican legislative leaders have sharply criticized the agreement that the board made in response to a lawsuit filed by advocacy group that argued absentee ballot requirements were too restrictive.