After North Carolina‘s Democrat governor and attorney general colluded with the state Board of Elections to rig voting rules suspiciously in their favor, the Republican lieutenant governor pushed back by calling for a formal Justice Department investigation.
“The fact that an executive agency would dare enter into an agreement that attempts to make substantial changes to our election law less than six weeks before the election raises serious concerns about the motives of all involved,” wrote Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in a letter to US Attorney General William Barr. “It also raises serious legal concerns.”
Forest also happens to be the Republican challenger taking on Democrat incumbent Roy Cooper in the upcoming gubernatorial race.
But Cooper, whose 2016 victory over then-incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory came amid looming accusations of illegal ballot-harvesting, has not relented in his efforts to interfere with the electoral process.
In fact, alongside state Attorney General Josh Stein, the authoritarian governor has sought to leverage his power by radically transforming the once bipartisan elections board.
Cooper “has fought tooth-and-nail against the Board of Elections being an independent body rather than a partisan body under his complete control,” Forest wrote.
On Wednesday, the board’s two remaining Republican members resigned in protest after being duped by Stein’s office into a settlement agreement that they were told would help preserve election integrity amid the ongoing coronavirus panic.
Instead, the arrangement effectively eradicated many safeguards that the state’s GOP-led legislature recently passed while completely circumventing the duly-elected lawmakers in favor of activist left-wing judges.
“As you may be aware, liberal groups from Washington D.C. have swarmed into North Carolina to file lawsuit after lawsuit against North Carolina, seeking to change, by judicial and executive fiat, laws that were constitutionally passed by our General Assembly,” Forest wrote.
“… They have effectively gutted provisions that ensure a quick resolution of the election, witness requirements for absentee ballots, and the requirement that the in-person drop-off of absentee ballots be by the voter or the voter’s near relative,” he said.
Ironically, the effort marks a full 180-degree flip–flop from the position that state Democrats—supported by notorious election-stealing lawyer Marc Elias—argued during an attempt last year to reverse the results of a 2018 congressional election by claiming ballot harvesting had tainted the outcome.
Despite previously alleging that a lone independent contractor employed by Republican candidate Mark Harris for local get-out-the-vote initiatives had thrown democracy into disarray, necessitating a complete do-over, Elias and others have now lent their vocal support to measures that would actively loosen and undermine ballot-harvesting restrictions.
Rep. Dan Bishop, the Republican who replaced Harris on the ballot and ultimately prevailed in last year’s special election for the 7th congressional district, joined other party leaders in denouncing the egregious hypocrisy.
“A year after Democrats’ national lawyer Marc Elias nullified a Republican congressional election victory with a withering attack on alleged absentee ballot harvesting, he has reversed position to attack the laws against ballot harvesting,” Bishop wrote in a statement.
“In a lawsuit filed in August, Elias alleged that these requirements are so onerous that they deprive his Democrat plaintiffs of due process and a free election,” he continued. “These claims didn’t pass the straight-face test, but the Democrat defendants promptly surrendered to the Democrat plaintiffs.”