RALEIGH – Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) was joined by other Republican senators Thursday to call upon Gov. Roy Cooper to form a truly bipartisan task force to investigate irregularities that have been happening for years.
This comes after Cooper ignored pleas to replace the Board chairman with someone both sides could have confidence in leading the 9th District investigation. Instead, Cooper elevated one partisan hack on the Board to the chair position, and appointed another partisan hack to fill the empty seat.
“There’s reason to doubt the capacity of the State Board of Elections,” said Sen. Dan Bishop, R-Mecklenburg, who was flanked by the four other GOP senators who represent portions of the 9th District in the General Assembly. “Over the course of two or three administrations, they haven’t gotten the job done.”
As reporters and investigators dig deeper into the Bladen County irregularities new information is being revealed every day that implies the State Board of Elections has neglected to fully investigate similar fraud complaints being made for years.
“Bishop said he agreed with the state board’s decision not to certify the 9th District election, though. The board’s recent vote to investigate was 7-2, with two of four Republicans voting to proceed.
State elections director Kim Strach, who’s leading the staff investigation, was appointed under McCrory. Her husband, Phil Strach, has been the lead attorney for General Assembly Republicans in a number of recent lawsuits defending an array of changes to North Carolina’s election laws.
But Bishop said the board’s partisan split – four Democrats, four Republicans and an unaffiliated member appointed by Cooper – is “disabling in its nature.””
This is exactly why Republican lawmakers have tried repeatedly to reform the structure of the Board so as to remove suspicions of partisan motivations and insure the Board approached their civic duty with a semblance of neutrality.
The governor and his Democratic comrades, intent upon opposing anything the Republican majorities did, sued the legislature over the legislative reforms because it reduced the governor’s power to pick and choose partisan hacks to be placed on the Board.
The courts sided with Cooper, and the Republicans took the issue to voters, including the reform as a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot last month. Democrats raged against all of the amendments, especially those that took powers from the Democratic governor, and it failed to garner a majority of votes.
In the midst of a burgeoning electoral fraud scandal, wouldn’t it be nice if the Board of Elections actually had the confidence of all lawmakers and citizens to do their duty without being tainted by partisan politics?
The next move is Cooper’s. Will he take the high ground, or resort to his usual tendencies of resisting any idea put forth by someone with an ‘R’ beside their name?
Watch the full press conference below.