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Shocking Changes at NC State Board of Elections

May 13, 2019 (Raleigh) North Carolina’s elections are now fully in the control of Governor Roy Cooper after the

Josh Lawson (Twitter photo)

Democrat-majority election board, today, fired Director Kim Strach (effective June 1), appointed Karen Brinson Bell as the new Director, and accepted the resignation of the agency’s Chief Counsel, Josh Lawson.

“The Board’s replacing of Strach was inevitable, given the Governor’s power, but the Lawson resignation came as a complete surprise,” said Jay DeLancy, Director of the Voter Integrity Project. “It also sends an ominous message about how the new Director will conduct elections.”

Strach spent all but six of her 20-year career at the SBOE investigating campaign finance crimes. She was appointed in 2013 by the newly elected Republican Governor, replacing Gary Bartlett, who had served under as Director under three Democrat governors, spanning 20 consecutive years.

According to the Progressive Pulse, website Lawson’s resignation letter said, “no member sought my departure” before offering insight into his decision while critiquing the Board’s choices to fire Strach and hire a more partisan replacement.

“Choices shape democracy, and yours have [an] outsized effect in our State. This agency serves voters best when it chooses accountability over complacency, people over partisanship, and the future over our past. These serious times require nothing less, as you confront real and growing threats to elections security, public trust, and the democratic process.”

– Joah Lawson, (former) General Counsel, NC State Bd. of Elections

“Josh Lawson was a straight shooter who always let the law guide his decisions,” said DeLancy. “Even when we disagreed, he raised the level of respect for his contentions agency and we will deeply miss him.”

According to an initial WRAL report, the incoming Director, Brisson Bell, who has worked as both a state board employee and a county board Director, most recently worked for a nonprofit election advocacy group led by Gary Bartlett.

“Mr. Bartlett basically waged information warfare with us after we caught him with 30,000 dead people on the voter rolls,” DeLancy said. “They misled the public into thinking they were already investigating the issue before we reported our findings and then cited a few examples to question our competence.”

After Bartlett’s departure, Director Strach assisted VIP in a full analysis to reveal an accuracy above 97 percent.

“We were completely surprised by their misinformation tactics back in 2012″, said DeLancy,” but we’re far more aware of the tools at our disposal if the new Director a similar dark path.”

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