June 24, 2023 (APEX/CRAMERTON) – The two announced Libertarian candidates for Governor, Shannon Bray and Mike Ross, issued a joint statement today condemning Senate Bill 749, currently under consideration by the North Carolina General Assembly, which would shift the power to appoint members of the boards from the governor to the legislature. According to their statement, the proposed legislation fails to address the most serious problem with the election boards: the fact that independent voters have no representation on them.
“Independent voters amount to 36% of the electorate, “ stated Bray. “There are now more independents in North Carolina than either Democrats or Republicans. It is blatantly unfair that they have no representation on the Boards of Election.”
“The state and county boards of election make critical decisions,” added Ross. “The Uniparty has rigged the system so that they have a monopoly on determining the calendar for early voting and voting locations for precincts, approving voting machines, collecting and reviewing campaign finance reports, determining what types of IDs can be used to vote, resolving voting disputes, and certifying elections. More than a third of all voters in North Carolina are structurally ignored, and clearly the Uniparty wants to keep that in place.”
Under current law, the two largest parties nominate members of the boards. The governor picks the five members of the state BoE from those lists, invariably selecting three from her/his/their party and two from the other party. The state BoE then selects two people from each party for all of the 100 county BoEs, and the governor selects the chair for each of them…again, invariably choosing someone from her/his/their party.
It is actually illegal to nominate an independent voter for a BoE post because the law specifies that nominees must be registered with either of the two largest parties. Senate Bill 749 would not change this, although it would shift the power to appoint BoE members from the governor and (for counties) from the state BoE to the legislature. It would also increase the size of the state BoE from five to eight (four Ds and four Rs) and reduce the size of each of the county BoEs from five to four (two from each party).
“It’s unusual to have two candidates who are competing against each other issue a joint statement,” commented LPNC chair Ryan Brown. “It’s indicative of how strongly most Libertarians feel about this shamefully partisan mistreatment of 2.6 million independent voters. Not to mention the Libertarians and Greens, who are also legally barred from being nominated to serve on their BoEs. Addressing this egregious injustice should be a priority for the NCGA.”