Elections chairman asks court to keep board intact until #NC09 investigation finished

State Board hearing for Rep. Moore
State Board hearing for Rep. Moore(wbtv)
Updated: Dec. 10, 2018 at 4:56 PM EST
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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - The chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Elections asked a three judge panel overseeing a court case surrounding the future of the NCSBE to extend the time before lawmakers must reorganize the board.

The request came in a letter written by NCSBE Chairman Joshua Malcolm in response to an inquiry submitted by Judge Jeffery Foster on Monday.

Foster is among a panel of three judges presiding over a case challenging the validity of the current way in which the NCSBE is organized.

The panel ruled earlier this fall that the current way Republican lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly have organized the board is unconstitutional and required a new organizational structure be in place by early December.

That initial deadline was extended by two weeks at the request of lawmakers, who still had yet to pass new legislation with a new organizational plan.

According to the letter sent by Malcolm late Monday, obtained by WBTV through a public records request, the judges appear to at least be considering further delaying the date by which a newly-organized elections board must be in place.

“The letter is submitted response to the request of Judge Jeffery B. Foster transmitted this afternoon by Trial Court Administrator Kellie Z. Myers. I appreciate this opportunity to submit the following update regarding the State Board’s substantial and ongoing efforts to finalize the 2018 general election,” Malcolm wrote. “My colleagues and I are mindful our agency is not party to this action, and nothing herein is intended to convey a position on the merits in this case.”

In his letter, Malcolm said the board needed additional time to finish conducting its investigation into voting irregularities in the 9th Congressional District, the results of which the board has refused to certify. An evidentiary hearing on the matter must be held by December 21, 2018.

Specifically, Malcolm’s letter said, it is taking longer than anticipated to gather evidence from people who have been subpoenaed by the board.

“Should the Panel wish to provide continuity during the remainder of this process, be assured we will endeavor to resolve outstanding matters as quickly as we can responsibly do so,” Malcolm’s letter concluded.

It is not clear when or if the judges will issue a new ruling extending the amount of time the board may exist in its current iteration.

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