RALEIGH – Amid the ongoing drama related to possible vote fraud in the 9th Congressional District election and the State Board of Elections refusal to certify that result, the overtly partisan nature of the Board’s leadership was put into perspective this weekend when chairman Andy Penry suddenly resigned over a bevy of anti-Trump tweets.
“Andy Penry resigned Saturday from the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The Democrat said he was leaving the board because he did not want to undermine an ongoing probe of potential wrongdoing in the state’s 9th Congressional District. The board is investigating alleged fraudulent activity related to mail-in absentee ballots and could order a new election.
Wake County GOP Chairman Charles Hellwig filed a complaint Wednesday and provided images of what appear to be tweets from Penry’s account this year criticizing Trump and a proposed constitutional amendment. Hellwig cited state law prohibiting board members from publicly opposing candidates and referendums.”
When members of the State Board of Elections are appointed they are schooled in what kind of behavior is unacceptable related to their role as an impartial public servant. Obviously Penry, appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper, did not get the message.
Penry’s tweets were so partisan, calling President Trump insane and raging against Constitutional Amendments while they were on the ballot, that even the News & Observer (itself a left-leaning paper) editorial board called for his resignation on Friday.
“The News & Observer, in an editorial published online Friday, had called on Penry to resign over partisan tweets. The editorial followed a formal complaint from the head of the Wake County Republican Party, which cited a number of those tweets and pointed out that state board members are supposed to refrain from partisan activity.
Among other things, Penry told a Republican voter on Twitter that his beliefs were “a bad reason to vote for a crazy man,” referring to President Donald Trump. He also called Trump “completely insane, not to mention heartless” and took a public position on at least one of the state constitutional amendments that was before voters last month.”
This man was leading a state entity to insure integrity in our elections, which recently refused to certify the 9th Congressional District election results – a race the Republican won – over fraud suspicions, despite the fact that the numbers of votes in question would not change the result of the race.
The whole process has been woefully lacking of transparency which is a disservice to every voter in not only the 9th District, but the whole state.
How are Republicans (or Democrats) supposed to have confidence that the Board is operating with integrity when it’s chairman is engaged in this sort of behavior?
That’s exactly the point Executive Director of the NCGOP Dallas Woodhouse was asking at a press conference on Saturday night.
Woodhouse is calling on Gov. Roy Cooper to appoint a temporary replacement chair that both parties can have confidence in presiding over the 9th District investigation, suggesting former Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court Burley Mitchell.
Mitchell is a Democrat, but one of integrity that would insure the investigation goes forward with deference to the rule of law.
That is an important attribute in any chairman due to the significance of their actions regarding this election. Democratic activists around the country are call for a whole new election.
At least two affidavits that indicated vote harvesting may have occurred that benefited the Republican Mark Harris in Bladen County were called into question after those two people actually voted in person. Therefore, their vote could not have been stolen via absentee voter fraud.
It should go with out saying that any people guilty of vote harvesting or otherwise illegal activity should be charged and go to prison. Pursuing that justice does not, however, prevent the State Board from certifying the 9th District election.
The plot is sure to thicken yet as a replacement is named and the investigation proceeds. We’d like to think Cooper and the Democrats can do this honestly, but Penry’s antics and the Left’s fervor call that all into question.