RALEIGH — The North Carolina State Board of Elections dismissed a complaint against Bladen County Board of Elections member Michael Aycock on Tuesday.
The Board did not find prima facie evidence of a violation of a state law that prohibits any board member from making “written or oral statements intended for general distribution or dissemination to the public at large supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates for public office.”
According to the complaint filed in October by Dr. Larry Hayes, who is the chair of the Bladen County Democractic Party, during the early voting period between Oct. 15-18, Aycock spent time at the Elizabethtown site around a Republican party tent and talking to voters.
“The result is that our Democratic candidates and others believe that Bladen County Board of Elections member Michael Aycock is electioneering n behalf of the Republican candidates, and that has caused further mistrust in the elections process in Bladen County,” Hayes wrote in his complaint.
The board also dismissed complaints against James Cofield of the Dare County Board of Elections and Toni Reece of the Rockingham County Board of Elections.
Information about the complaints against the county board members is here: https://dl.ncsbe.gov/index.html?prefix=State_Board_Meeting_Docs/2021-02-23/CBE Member Complaints/
Switch of Constitution and Green Parties’ Voters Delayed
In other action, the board voted unanimously to wait until June 12 to move members of the Constitution and Green parties to unaffiliated status in order to give the parties time to try to gather enough signatures to regain recognition in North Carolina.
The recognized status of both parties ended automatically when their candidates for governor and president failed to get 2% of the votes in the 2020 general election, and the parties did not submit documentation showing their nominees were on the ballot in at least 70% of states. See N.C.G.S. 163-96(a)(1). (See also Constitution, Green parties no longer recognized in North Carolina.)
However, the Constitution Party of North Carolina and the North Carolina Green Party have started petitions to be recognized again. See here: Petition Search (ncsbe.gov). In a letter to the State Board, the parties asked that the State Board not change the affiliation of their voters.
Under Tuesday’s State Board decision, if either party is not successful in the petition process by 20 days before the start of the municipal election candidate filing period, its voters will be switched to unaffiliated status. This allows the parties more time to complete the petition process while ensuring voters are not affiliated with expired political parties while an election is going on, which could result in their inability to vote in a primary.
The municipal filing period currently is scheduled to begin July 2, so the voters’ statuses would change to unaffiliated on June 12. If the filing period is delayed, voter status changes also would be delayed. Voters will be notified by mail by their county board of elections if their affiliation is changed and will have the opportunity to update their party affiliation, if desired.
Currently, there are 3,920 Green Party voters and 5,285 Constitution Party voters in the state. North Carolina has more than 7 million registered voters.
The State Board also voted unanimously to continue recognizing the Libertarian Party in North Carolina. The party’s candidates for governor and president also did not garner 2% of the votes in the November election. However, the party submitted documentation demonstrating that it had a nominee on the general election ballot of at least 35 states.
(See the Libertarian Party’s documentation.)
County Board Appointments
In other business, the State Board appointed Democrat Gary E. Brown to the Duplin County Board of Elections, Republican Sandra W. Duckwall to the Camden County Board of Elections, Republican Emily Adrienne Vaughn Weidner to the Hoke County Board of Elections, and Republican Theodore Thomas Grissom to the Vance County Board of Elections.