North Carolina Lawmakers Demand State Board of Elections Release Data on How Many Ballots are Outstanding


North Carolina legislative leaders are demanding that the State Board of Elections release data on total outstanding ballots to provide transparency.

The co-chairs of the State Senate and House Elections Committees sent the demand in a letter Friday to Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, which is controlled by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper (pictured above). The announcement was made by N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger.

The letter was signed by Senate Redistricting and Elections Committee Co-Chairs Ralph Hise, Warren Daniel and Paul Newton, and House Elections and Ethics Committee Co-Chairs Destin Hall and Holly Grange.

Citing state law, the co-chairs “demand the immediate disclosure and public release of the total number of currently outstanding absentee ballots in the possession of the U.S. Postal Service and entered into the BallotTrax system.”

The letter also says:

We further demand the release of any internal projections, analysis, or preliminary information in possession of the Board regarding the total number and identity of those ballots.

It is critical that our elections are conducted in a transparent manner, and there is no justification for withholding any election data within your possession for days following an election.

The letter demanded the information by 4 p.m. Friday. Failure to meet that deadline would result in the committees using their oversight authority, the letter said.

The committees did not announce whether they received the information as of press time.

BallotTrax is a service where voters can track the status of their absentee ballot, according to the State Board of Elections website. The system should allow county boards of election to know if absentee ballots were placed into the mail by a particular date, including Election Day, the letter says.

Even if you are concerned that the U.S. Postal Service may have failed to scan certain ballots, you may not withhold the information that you do have regarding the number of ballots in the system. Disclosure of this data should enable media outlets to call the presidential and U.S. Senate races, among others, almost immediately.

Hise on Friday posted the letter on Facebook. He said, “It is clear that President Donald Trump has won North Carolina. Below is a letter that I sent, along with my Senate and House Elections Committee Co-Chairs, to Director Brinson Bell of the State Board of Elections demanding immediate disclosure to the public and media about the number of unprocessed absentee ballots, and the number of people who requested absentee ballots but voted on Election Day.”

The legislators’ questions came a day after 77 ballots were found during two sweeps in Greensboro USPS facilities. Fox 8 reported on that development.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “North Carolina Capital” by Chanilim714 CC3.0.






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