The two Republican members of the North Carolina State Board of Elections abruptly resigned Wednesday, saying in separate letters that they felt misled by the state attorney general’s office and board staff when they agreed to a settlement that would allow voters to fix absentee ballots with missing information.
The stunning departures, less than six weeks before Election Day in a hotly contested battleground state, come one day after the five-member board said it unanimously agreed to the settlement, which still must be approved by a court. A hearing has been set for October 2 regarding the settlement, which also allows ballots postmarked on Election Day to be received six days later.
In a statement, the board said it appreciated the service of the two resigning members, Ken Raymond and David Black, but that the unanimous agreement “came after counsel to all board members from agency attorneys and litigation counsel before and during last week’s closed session meeting. The agency’s legal staff, who are civil servants, provide thorough legal memos to the board prior to every board meeting and answer any questions board members have about matters that come before the board.”
Raymond said he couldn’t “in good conscious (sic) continue.” Black said the recent decisions by the board made it “untenable” to remain as a member.
CNN has reached out to the North Carolina Republican Party for comment.
Following the settlement, the party called it “a blatant abuse,” saying in a statement that it “guts the absentee witness requirement, extends the acceptance of all absentee ballots almost a week past the statutory deadline and weakens protections against ballot harvesting.”
CNN has reached out to North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s office for comment.