Governor names new State Board of Elections members; Cordle elected chairman | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal, and written by the CJ Staff.

Stella Anderson, left, was appointed Thursday by Gov. Roy Cooper to the new State Board of Elections and elected secretary. She's pictured here in October with Valerie Johnson. Both served on the previous elections board. (CJ photo by Dan Way)

    Gov. Roy Cooper named three Democrats and two Republicans Thursday to the newly constituted State Board of Elections. The board members' first big test will be the disputed election in the 9th Congressional District. The new board elected Democrat Bob Cordle of Charlotte chairman in conference call a couple of hours after Cooper's announcement.

    Along with Cordle, Cooper picked Democrats Stella Anderson of Boone (who was elected board secretary) and Jeff Carmon of Durham; and Republicans David Black of Concord and Ken Raymond of Winston-Salem.

    They'll serve through April 30, 2023, or until successors are named and qualified, a statement by board spokesman Pat Gannon said.

    Republican nominee the Rev. Mark Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the unofficial tally for the 9th District. But the previous board didn't certify Harris, and the board was dissolved last month by a three-judge state court panel.

    An evidentiary hearing is expected in February to examine claims of ballot fraud centering around a contractor who worked for a consultant Harris hired. The contractor, Leslie McCrae Dowless of Bladen County, was named as a person of interest by investigators. Dowless allegedly mishandled or destroyed absentee ballots. It's also possible local elections officials released early voting totals early to political operatives, which would violate the law.

    Last week, Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway refused a request to certify Harris, noting that the new board would be in place by the end of January.

    The board could certify Harris, continue the investigation, or order a new election. The last option would require the approval of at least four of the five board members. Even if Harris is certified, several Democratic leaders in the U.S. have said he won't be seated.

    If the board can't come to a conclusion about the race, then the House may assume jurisdiction over the contest, possibly conducting its own investigation and even order a new election.
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