A new five-member North Carolina Board of Elections will be implemented on or after Jan. 31 by Gov. Roy Cooper.
After an ongoing debate about the size and effectiveness of the board, a three-judge panel decided in mid-October that a nine-member board was not constitutional in North Carolina, said Stella Anderson, a member of the most recent state elections board.
The panel of judges recognized the importance of the board during an election and granted a stay on their order which allowed the board to continue work until the November election was finalized, Anderson said.
House Bill 1029 aimed to change North Carolina’s state and county Boards of Elections from nine-member boards to five-member boards.
HB 1029 was originally vetoed by Cooper, and later passed by both the North Carolina House and Senate during the last session of 2018.
Due to allegations of voter fraud in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district, judges granted the state board several extensions in order to give the board time to investigate.
“We were not able to conclude the investigation that was needed and make a determination about the 9th (district),” Anderson said.
“All parties requested that the three-judge panel make one more extension in light of the new law that would go into effect Jan. 31 that would allow the board to continue uninterrupted until Jan. 31, but the court refused,” Anderson said.
In addition, the Republican Party did not submit any nominees for Cooper to choose from, making the continuation of a board impossible.
New county boards will likely be chosen in the coming weeks after the new state Board of Elections is chosen on or after Jan. 31., Anderson said.
Anderson said that the lack of a county board in Watauga County is “not particularly consequential” as there are no current election-related activities.