As Democrats on the North Carolina State Board of Elections come under fire for allegedly colluding with national special interests in an eleventh-hour attempt to overturn duly-passed state election laws, Democrat Governor Roy Cooper, who hand-picked the board members, has close ties to some of the same liberal special interest groups bankrolling assaults on election integrity around the country.
Backed with millions of dollars from far-left donors, Cooper’s former attorney Marc Elias, a longtime liberal legal activist and lawyer for Hillary Clinton, cut a secretive deal with the Cooper unelected board appointees to attempt to roll back ballot protections that were passed as part of the Bipartisan Elections Act of 2020.
Despite Cooper and his allies’ best efforts, challengers took action to stop the settlement and restore appropriate election integrity measures. Advocates for strong election integrity secured a victory when a federal court judge agreed to temporarily block the Democrats’ attempt to rewrite election laws, dealing a striking blow to his partisan appointees and their apparent collusion with national liberals to undermine North Carolina election law.
A Federal Judge Temporarily Blocked An Attempt By Democrats On The North Carolina State Board Of Elections And National Allies To Change State Election Law
U.S. District Judge James Dever Halted Changes That Were Pushed By Cooper’s Allies. “A federal judge placed a temporary restraining order Saturday on the NC Board of Elections settlement that came out of Wake County Superior Court Friday and changed state election laws ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Attorneys representing House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger, North Carolina’s top Republicans, argued to Judge James Dever Friday night that the settlement violated the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives state legislatures the authority to set election rules. They added that the settlement is inconsistent with state law.” (Danielle Battaglia, “Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Board Of Elections Settlement Decided Friday,” The News & Observer, 10/3/20)
Democrats On State Board Of Elections Accused Of “Colluding” With National Democrats To Rewrite Absentee Ballot Law, Encourage Ballot Harvesting
Republican Senate Leadership Accused The State Board Of Elections Of “Violating” State Election Laws, Including Allowing For Conditions Which Could Lead To “Large-Scale Absentee Ballot Fraud.” “The unelected N.C. Board of Elections colluded with the ‘opposing’ side of a lawsuit funded by national Democrats and agreed to a consent order that violates North Carolina’s election laws. The maneuver, if approved by a Democratic judge, will undo legislation passed by a near-unanimous General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor. The collusive arrangement permits anonymous absentee ballot drop boxes and subverts requirements for witnesses to be identified on absentee ballots. These rules were put in place in response to large-scale absentee ballot fraud that caused elections officials to throw out the results of a 2018 Congressional election.” (Press Release, “In Collusive Settlement With Other Democrats, Dem-Controlled Board Of Elections To Make Ballot Harvesting Easier,” Senator Phil Berger Press Shop, 9/22/20)
Carolina Journal: Colluding Between Board Of Elections And National Democrats “Strips Absentee Ballot Protections, Opening The Door For Election Fraud.” “A settlement in an election lawsuit strips absentee ballot protections, opening the door for election fraud, one election expert says. Parties in the North Carolina Alliance of Retired Americans v. North Carolina State Board of Elections filed a joint motion calling on a judge to approve a settlement in the case. The lawsuit, led by Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias, challenged a series of changes lawmakers made to the absentee ballot process in June. But the settlement included only Democrats and the Democrat-majority elections board, shutting out the Republican-led General Assembly, which crafted the bipartisan elections law.” (Lindsay Marchello, “Election Lawsuit Settlement Threatens Absentee Ballot Protections,” Carolina Journal, 9/23/20)
Cooper’s Liberal Allies Are Behind The Push To Weaken Election Integrity
Politico: “Marc Elias Is Trying To Change The Rules.” “While Democratic campaigns and groups navigate the patchwork of state rules governing mail ballots to encourage turnout, Democratic election attorney Marc Elias is trying to change many of those rules.” (Zach Montellaro and Elena Schneider, “Inside The Democratic Party’s Plan To Prevent Vote-By-Mail Disaster,” Politico, 8/21/20)
- Lawyer Marc Elias, A Partisan Hack And Cooper Confidant, Led The Effort To Overthrow State Election Law And Loosen Voter Integrity Measures. “Marc Elias, the lawyer who is leading efforts in several states to loosen restrictions on absentee ballot procedures, announced Monday night a new suit filed in N.C… Elias is no stranger to North Carolina, having represented Cooper in 2016’s gubernatorial recount, in addition to his previous work. He makes no effort to hide his partisanship, with his bio saying he is a ‘lawyer fighting for Democrats and voting rights for all.’” (Matt Mercer, “Yet Another Lawsuit Filed Over NC Elections Laws,” North State Journal, 8/12/20)
- Elias’ Client, Liberal Super PAC Priorities USA, Is Committing $32 Million To Fund Litigation Efforts. “This is the other half of the party’s vote-by-mail efforts: a sprawling legal effort that spans every battleground state and is costing tens of millions of dollars. Priorities USA, just one of Elias’ clients, has expanded its voting litigation budget to $32 million.” (Zach Montellaro and Elena Schneider, “Inside The Democratic Party’s Plan To Prevent Vote-By-Mail Disaster,” Politico, 8/21/20)
- Former Obama Administration Official Eric Holder Has Been Complicit, “Bankrolled” The Lawsuit To Weaken Election Integrity In North Carolina. “The lawsuit was bankrolled in part by the National Redistricting Foundation, a Democratic group whose parent committee is led by former Attorney General Eric Holder.” (Gary Robertson, “North Carolina Board Agrees To More Absentee Changes,” Associated Press, 9/22/20)
- Cooper Is Endorsed By Liberal Activist Stacey Abrams, Who Is Working “Side-By-Side” With Marc Elias, And Has Embraced His Efforts To Change Absentee Voting Requirements. ABRAMS: “Second, states must expand voting by mail, making it accessible to all eligible voters without requiring an excuse… I am grateful to our friends at The Brennan Center, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and election attorney Marc Elias for their leadership during these unprecedented times.” (Press Release, “Fair Fight Action Founder And Chair Stacey Abrams Urges Congressional And State Action To Protect The Right To Vote Amid COVID-19 Pandemic,” Fair Fight, 3/20/20)
Cooper Has Appointed Partisan Democrats To The Board Of Elections
Lt. Governor Dan Forest: Cooper Has “Fought Tooth-And-Nail” To Transform The Board Of Elections Into A Partisan Body. “This is especially concerning because our Democratic Governor, Roy Cooper, has fought tooth-and-nail against the Board of Elections being an independent body rather than a partisan body under his complete control. 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. It also raises serious legal concerns.” (Letter, Lt. Governor Forest To Attorney General Barr Re: N.C. Alliance For Retired Americans, et al v. N.C. State Board Of Elections, et al.,” Office Of The Lieutenant Governor, 9/24/20)
The News & Observer Editorial Board: “Keep Partisanship Off The NC Elections Board”: “As hard as Gov. Roy Cooper has fought to maintain control of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, you would assume he would be especially careful about the people he appoints to the board and how they conduct themselves in office… For his next appointment to the board, the governor should choose someone who understands that public confidence in the even-handed administration of elections isn’t compatible with partisan bellowing on Twitter.”
Cooper’s “Lead Political Strategist” Worked Behind The Scenes To Replace A Competent Board Member Because She Was A Republican. “Gov. Roy Cooper said this week he didn’t have any conversations about removing State Board of Elections Director Kim Strach, but his political operative worked with board Democrats as they lined up Strach’s replacement. ‘Former Board Director Gary Bartlett, who Strach replaced in the job shortly after Republican Gov. Pat McCrory took office in 2013, had input as well… Bartlett said the Cooper administration, through the governor’s lead political strategist, Morgan Jackson, asked him for a name.” (Travis Fain, “Democrats Turned To Cooper’s Political Arm In Replacing State Elections Director,” WRAL, 5/19/19)
Joshua Malcolm, A Cooper-Appointed Member Of The Board Of Elections And Former Board Chairman, Resigned After He Refused To Provide Transparency About His Communication With Partisan Democrat Operatives In The 2018 NC-09 Congressional Race. “Two Republican state senators and executive committee for Democrats’ Ninth Congressional District are asking for more transparency into potential election fraud in the unsettled race between the Rev. Mark Harris and Dan McCready… Sens. Harry Brown of Onslow County and Kathy Harrington of Gaston County want answers from Joshua Malcolm, the Pembroke lawyer previously serving as chairman of the state Board of Elections.” (“Contact Between Malcolm, Lutz Questioned,” The Robesonian, 1/9/19)