RALEIGH – The N.C. State Board of Elections has been the center of a lot of action and drama the last few years, and it doesn’t appear to be dissipating. The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP is calling on Governor Roy Cooper to fire his recently appointed Board of Elections chair Damon Circosta for what they judge are failures in his role as elections chief. Cooper, though, isn’t moved.
From the Raleigh News & Observer:
“[…] They say the elections board has not done enough to focus on cyber security in the face of foreign interference in elections. They also oppose the board’s recent decision to allow counties to use — instead of hand-marked paper ballots — a type of electronic voting machine, which they say runs on outdated software and could be more susceptible to hackers.
“We respectfully urge you to request the immediate resignation (of Circosta) from the State Board of Elections and to quickly appoint a replacement member committed to ensuring North Carolina’s elections are a model of security for the nation, providing that all votes are recorded and counted transparently, accessibly, auditably and securely for all voters,” the letter said. […]”
It’s a little unusual to see the NAACP, a reliable Leftist agitator willing to smear opposition as racist, contesting someone’s leadership on such substantive issues. If Circosta was a Republican, one could expect a charge of sinister bigotry thrown in there, too.
Yet, Cooper, who has had appointed three different Board chairs since he took office — with a couple of them resigning for embarrassing reasons — is sticking with Circosta despite the concerns of the NAACP.
“The security of our elections is the number one priority of the State Board of Elections,” Cooper spokesman Ford Porter said. “This includes ballot and voting machine security, ensuring against voter intimidation and discrimination in all forms, freedom from long lines, and making sure that voting is as easy and hassle free as possible. The Governor believes the board is focused on these concerns.”
In this case, when there are real issues of concern, and not just some manufactured crisis, Cooper doesn’t want to rock the boat. It’s notable, because the concerns the NAACP raises are valid. The NCSBE has been bogged down by investigations and special elections, but in the last few months they’ve seemed to drop the ball on some issues of election security. The concerns, like having paper ballots and making sure elections technology is not at risk, cut across partisan lines. The current Board has not inspired confidence in approaching these issues, seeming sloppy and insufficiently diligent.
Despite this, Cooper can’t afford to admit his appointees are missing the mark again by replacing Circosta. Instead we’ll wander into 2020 and cross our fingers that things run smoothly.
Read more about the NAACP demands, and Cooper’s response, here.