NCGA Oversight Committee wants answers from NC Board of Elections on blocked political parties

RALEIGH — The North Carolina House Oversight and Reform Committee wants answers from the North Carolina State Board of Elections as to why certain political party presidential candidates were blocked from the November 2024 ballot, according to a letter sent to board members obtained by North State Journal.

In the letter, which went to certain NCSBE board members, committee co-chairs Jake Johnson (R-Polk) and Harry Warren (R-Rowan) ask witnesses to be prepared to discuss the “grounds by which the Board denied the petitions of these political parties, even after timely submission.”

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“In your role as a member of the North Carolina State Board of Elections (“Board”), you are uniquely qualified to explain to the Committee why the Board denied the timely filed petitions of certain political parties to appear on the November ballot in North Carolina,” wrote Johnson and Warren.

According to an official with the House Oversight and Reform Committee, there is a plan to follow up on the letters after the NCSBE has held its meeting on the issue on July 9. The NCSBE members receiving the letter from lawmakers were Chair Alan Hirsch, Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell, and Kevin Lewis, the only Republican member.

The legislators also want to know what the schedule is to resolve questions on the petitions, as well as any communications the NCSBE has had with “third-party organizations” about their decision to block the parties in question from the ballot and “any underlying or perceived political motivations the Board may have to exclude these names from the ballot.”

The General Assembly’s House Oversight Committee hearing request follows a July 1 announcement by U.S. House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and U.S. House Committee on Administration Chairman Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) of a congressional probe into the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ (NCSBE) decision to “keep qualified candidates off the ballot in November.”

The Jordan-Steil announcement included a letter sent to NCSBE Chairman Alan Hirsch and Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell that expressed concern over the NCSBE’s June 26 decision to deny petitions from political parties representing certain presidential candidates for the November 2024 ballot in North Carolina.

“The Committee on House Administration and the Committee on the Judiciary are concerned that the NCSBE’s decision was politically motivated and may have been done to influence the 2024 presidential election by limiting the candidates for which voters may cast their ballots,” the letter to NCSBE officials reads. “Accordingly, we write to request documents and information about this decision.”

The NCSBE’s decision will keep Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Cornell West off the presidential ballot despite The We The People Party and Justice for All Party of North Carolina obtaining more than the number of signatures required to qualify.

The congressmen’s letter suggests the decision may have been politically motivated to influence the election by limiting voter choices.

“The justifications put forth by the NCSBE’s Democrat majority to deny these petitions underscore its political motivations to influence the election,” the congressmen wrote. “For example, in its denial of one petition, the Democrat members voted to block the petition simply because the address of the party’s chairman was not up to date on the petition sheets. More concerning, it appears that the NCSBE succumbed to the demands of Democrat organizations who repeatedly pressured the NCSBE to deny these petitions.”

In their letter, Jordan and Steil have requested documents and communications related to the NCSBE’s decision to bar certain candidates, the quality of the petitions filed by third-party organizations, and interactions between the NCSBE and third-party organizations regarding the decision. The deadline for the NCSBE to respond to those requests is July 8.

About A.P. Dillon 1341 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_