Democrats Set Precedent In 2004 For GOP Legislator To Decide 2016 Governor’s Race

The current, undecided race for Governor in North Carolina may be a long, contentious process, but it has nothing on the 2004 race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Twelve years ago, Democrat June Atkinson, the incumbent State Superintendent was fighting off a challenge from Republican Bill Fletcher.

As election night came to a close, Atkinson had a lead of less than 8,500 votes after 3.3 million North Carolinians cast their ballots.

What followed was a process similar to the one we are currently seeing play out as Governor Pat McCrory fights to keep his position against Democrat challenger Roy Cooper.

After election night in 2004, Bill Fletcher challenged roughly 11,000 ballots, a total that could have easily tilted the race for Superintendent in his favor. Fletcher’s argument was that the State Board of Elections had violated the state constitution by allowing people to cast provisional ballots outside their assigned precinct.

Of course, the Democrat-controlled State Board of Elections rejected Fletcher’s appeal, upholding the ballots.

Fletcher continued his fight, appealing the decision to the courts.

The case made it’s way all the way to the North Carolina Supreme Court, as Atkinson fought back questioning the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction in the matter, citing the state constitution that says all contested Council of State elections are to be decided by the General Assembly, which just so happened to be controlled by Atkinson’s friends in the Democrat Party at that time.

The Supreme Court ruled in asserting its jurisdiction that the General Assembly had established no “manner prescribed by law” for determining the outcome of such a contested election.

Furthermore, the high court decided that the Democrat-controlled elections board had misinterpreted the statutes allowing out-of-precinct votes, sending the matter back to the lower courts.

In the meantime, the Democrat controlled General Assembly quickly convened to clarify the law on provisional ballots, while also addressing the constitutional issues of such a contested election raised by the high court.

The Democrats quickly assembled a joint committee chaired by Democrat Sen. Dan Clodfelter of Charlotte and Democrat Rep. Deborah Ross of Raleigh (yes, the same Deborah Ross who just got beat handily by Richard Burr in the race for the U.S. Senate) to hastily develop a process where the General Assembly can resolve contested elections.

At the time, Ross said lawmakers were sure to do all they could to ensure that they were setting a precedent. “We did our job with history in mind,” she asserted.

The Assembly ended up passing a resolution, thanks to the Democrat majority, interpreting the Supreme Court’s provisional ballot ruling to apply to future elections, not the 2004 race that the actual ruling was made to apply to, while also adopting a process that gave unsuccessful Council of State candidates “the right to appeal … to the General Assembly.”
Ultimately, thanks to a lot of maneuvering from her Democrat friends, June Atkinson was chosen by the General Assembly to be the winner of the race for Superintendent, with 93 lawmakers declaring Atkinson won the election, 21 declaring Fletcher won and 51 either voting that they couldn’t tell or leaving their ballots unmarked as a protest.
So, what does this mean for the 2016 Governor’s race?
A TON according to Bob Joyce, a UNC-CH School of Government expert.
Joyce told the News & Observer, “The combination of the constitutional provision (on contested elections) and the language ‘has the right to appeal’ indicates to me that if the trailing candidate wants to, the matter would go to the General Assembly.”
Joyce went on to explain to the N&O that the measure even lacks a definitive explanation of what a “contested election” actually entails.

“I don’t know who there is to say it’s not a contested election,” he said.

As you can now see, thanks to the Democrats, no matter what may come of the investigations into the massive amounts of voter fraud that have been reported in 50 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, Governor McCrory has every right to appeal to the General Assembly.
And the Republican-controlled General Assembly has every right to determine McCrory the winner of the Governor’s race, thanks to the Democrats tireless, obsessive efforts to win a race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2004.

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