POLITICS
12/04/2018 10:36 pm ET Updated 4 days ago

North Carolina Republicans Try To Ensure They'll Be In Charge Of Future Elections

The state is already mired in allegations that Republicans are behind ballot theft in a rural county.

Republicans in North Carolina are attempting to push through a bill that would ensure their control over voting procedure in election years.

State Rep. David Lewis (R), who chairs the elections committee, filed the bill in the North Carolina House of Representatives on Monday amid allegations of Republican-led ballot theft during the 2018 midterm elections.

The bill would require election boards in every county in the state to be chaired by a member of the political party with the highest number of registered voters in odd-numbered years. During even-numbered years, the boards would be chaired by a member of the party with the second-highest number of registered voters.

North Carolina has more registered Democrats than Republicans, which would mean a Republican member of every election board in the state would be in charge of voting procedure during election years. That would hold true as long as Republicans continue to have the second-highest number of registered voters in the state, which is likely to remain true as long as U.S. population trends persist.

Lewis told HuffPost that the bill was intended to be a “place holder” while the committee worked on negotiations with the governor.

“To be clear, this is a holdover provision from an enjoined statute and this legislation was filed as a place holder bill in order to jump start negotiations with the Governor over the structure of our system of elections and ethics enforcement,” Lewis said.

Meanwhile, allegations recently surfaced that a political operative working for Republicans ran an illegal ballot operation in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District ― where Republican Mark Harris appeared to defeat Democrat Dan McCready by fewer than 1,000 votes in the midterms.

The state also passed a constitutional amendment last month mandating voter ID just two years after a federal appeals court struck down a similar measure, arguing it was part of a larger set of voter restrictions that targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.”

Republicans, including Lewis, were also behind the voter ID measure.

The election boards bill comes two years after Lewis and other Republicans in the state legislature introduced a series of measures aimed at stripping power from incoming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. 

Lewis told reporters at the time that Republicans were working “to establish that we are going to continue to be a relevant party in governing the state.

The story has been updated with comment from state Rep. Lewis.

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