NC elections board certifies vote totals
The State Board of Elections meets to certify the results of the Nov. 3 elections in North Carolina.
a conflict of interest. Does any board member have any known conflict of interest or any appearance of a conflict with respect any matters coming before the board today? If so, please identify the conflict or appearance and refrain from any undue participation in the matter. I haven't made aware of any conflicts, but I do want to make sure that we can all hear and see each other. So I'm gonna just call a brief. We'll get mixed up with mutant make Mr Chair a conflict I need to disclose to you, sir. Okay, let's go ahead and do that first. Mr. Eggers, your conflict. Yes, sir. I spoke with this love just a few minutes ago. My aunt was on the ballot as an uncontested candidate for seek to of District 24 judiciales Uh, district court Judge. Uh, Miss Love advises that since she was uncontested, that would not be a conflict for me to vote on it. However, I did feel it appropriate to disclose uh, that relationship to a candidate who's on our canvas for certification. Thanks, Mr Eggers. I appreciate the disclosure, understand it and agree with council love that I don't think you would need to refrain. Although ultimately that decision is yours, not the boards. Um okay, let's just go ahead and call a quick wool just so we could make sure we can hear one another. Doctor Anderson, can you hear me? Yes. Mr Eggers Air you here? Yes, sir. Mr Carmen? Yes, sir. And Mr Tucker? Looks like you're on mute If you would on mute and say hello. You're still on mute. Mr Tucker, this is Are you there? Uh, Miss Chairman, I've got, uh, the board of elections here with me, and I totally confused him, so I'm sorry about that delay. No worries. We can hear you now, and everyone is here and accounted for and proceed. Okay, so it says you when you're not. You all right. First order of business today is approval of prior meeting minutes. You have before you the meeting minutes from October 26 then two very brief meetings on November 3rd. Uh, we'll call those meeting minutes number one and meeting minutes. Number two. Uh, does anyone having ah, motion to approve? Okay. Yeah, that's fine. I would move that. We approve those state board October 26 number one and number two on November 3rd. Mr. Eggers that I hear you second outstanding. It's been moved in second. Any discussion Hearing? None. I'll call the roll. Dr. Anderson. Mr. Eggers, I Mr Carmen I Mr Tucker, uh, chair votes I motion carries. Uh, well, I will. I will refer to our next agenda Item is the main event. And if I might just say so. This is an event that everybody on the county Board of Elections, the State Board of Elections are bipartisan members, and our staff have been working for for over the course of the year. This is the canvas of the November 3rd general election. Um, it is our obligation under statute to canvas and ultimately certify the results of the election. And we will proceed with that process here right away. I'm gonna turn it over to our executive director, Karen Brinson Bell, to present the canvas to us at the board. Uh, and with that Executive Director Bell, the floor is yours. Thank you, Mr Chairman. Uh, Caitlyn, I'm not able to share just one moment. Mhm. Well, Caitlin gives me that authorization. Um, I will just say that our CEO Brian needs be who heads up Our audits team is available for this call to answer any questions that you may want to ask of him on. Obviously, there's other staff who have helped in the canvas process that is are available as well. Yeah, mhm. Okay, assuming that you all can see my slides at this point, I want to go through a Siris of slides to give you information about the canvas process and what we're here for today, Um, and to just give you an overview of the audits that we have prepared and then proposed emotion regarding our canvas e think we all are well aware that this has been an unprecedented year and it has proven to be a historic election. And I think as we enter into this very privileged moment as a board, and for me is executive director. I thought it was appropriate that I share with you some of the he aspect of what has made this a historic election. Uh, we came into the year, uh, hosting, holding our first ever Super Tuesday primary. That was on March the third. And it happens to be the same date. Uh, that we learned of North Carolina's first coronavirus case. So the entire dynamic of this election year changed at that very moment. Admit that we formed a task force and took a variety of steps to be prepared for our second primary, which included the necessity to move that second primary that was in the 11th Congressional District Republican, uh, contest, and also a new election that was scheduled in Columbus County and I just County Commissioner race. We moved that from May to June 23rd, so that we could be outside of the eight week window that we were all working around in terms of coronavirus. Obviously, that pandemic has grown and has continued. And that meant that we had to think about how we would approach the general election. We had watched our colleagues in other states. Um, there's some feedback. I don't know if someone's not muted. Okay, when I can't see with the power point slides up. But everyone should be muted now, except for you. Okay. Thank you. Uh, so we watched our colleagues around the country hold primaries during the pandemic. We noticed a shortage of poll workers and, uh, shortage of PPE and those things did contribute to us. Moving to June 23rd for our second primary, we actually had a very smooth second primary. We were able to secure the PPE that was needed in the poll workers at that point in time. Fortunately, that's a small election. So we really had to think about what we needed to do to scale up for the general election. Part of that meant we knew we would need to launch a very, uh targeted campaign to ensure that we had an adequate number of whole workers. And we titled this our democracy heroes because without a doubt these people who essentially volunteer the pay is very small. So essentially they volunteer to be on the front lines, conducting the elections at our polling places during the early voting period. And on Election Day, we need that it would take 25,000 to 30,000 individuals. And so, launching this campaign in June in partnerships with multiple civic organization, professional athletes and athletic clubs, uh, the state government employees and many others, uh, we were able thio, uh, received interest forms from over 60,000 North Carolinians who said they were ready to step up and be a part of our election and carry out democracy. Of course, we didn't need all of those individuals. But what a now outpouring of support for the election process. And, uh, many of them were the sons and daughters or grandsons and granddaughters of people who, uh, had had had watched their family members serve as a precinct official for many years but knew that they were part of the vulnerable probable population and would not be able to be on the front lines. So we have a new pool of people, and we had a amazing reserve corps that we could draw from, as we had some individuals who were not able to serve because of illness or other situations. S oh, that was a testament and made this a historic election. In that sense, from the technology perspective, we did some amazing things in a very short window of time. Once we got the authorization for The Cares Act funds and legislative approval in June, we were able to move forward with a new online absentee request form for the first time, a redesign of our absentee by mail envelope to be more user friendly and clearer in understanding for the voter. We implemented intelligent male barcoding on our absentee by mail envelopes so that we could also provide the ballot tracks tracking service. Many of these things are usually done by other states over a year or more for implementation. And yet our State board staff and the input from the county boards and some of our partners made this possible in 2.5 months, which is remarkable. We also in about a 4.5 month window when we were expecting six, were able to launch a new design of our website on a new, more secure platform. And we did this in partnership with the Department of Information Technology and their Digital Commons group. Uh, it also provided us the opportunity to share MAWR data than has ever been shared by the North Carolina State Board of Elections for the public, for the campaigns. For anyone interested in knowing Maura about our election processes and to ensure transparency in what we do at the State Board of Elections, I would venture to say that right now our State Works website provides mawr information and more data than any other state in our union. We also partnered with the State Emergency Management Services and State Emergency Response Team as well as the Department of Health and Human Services. To determine our PPE needs, the State emergency Management handled the distribution and logistics of over 14 million items of PPE, be it the masks or the hand sanitizer, much of which was donated s Oh, that was, you know, another historic moment for our our state and in our conduct of elections. Uh, it's remarkable the the logistical operation that went into the distribution of all of these PPE items. And we also, uh, determined that, you know, having single use pins was another measure we could take to ensure the safety of our voters and our whole workers. And so those were distributed. We ordered six million single use pins to make sure that, uh, even if we couldn't hand out the I voted stickers necessarily, uh, that a voter would have this pen to commemorate this historic election. What this meant is that we had the largest number of registered voters in our state. As North Carolina continues to grow in population, So does our voter registration. Obviously, and at this point we now have over 7.3 million registered voters, uh, that were eligible for this election. On September 4th, we were the first in the nation to start sending out absentee by mail. Ballots are state law is slightly different from other states, and that's why we were the first in the nation at In total, we had over 1.4 million requests for absentee by mail ballots we had of those requests over one million of those individuals that made that request returned their ballots and cast their vote through that voting method. On October 15th through the 31st, we had our 17 day early voting period. This was historical Well, we had the most sites ever open for early voting across the state. We also had the most hours offered ever across the state. In that all three weekends of voting in that 17 day period were open at some point in time in every single county. So it was a culmination of over 77,000 hours that were available during that early voting period. What that meant is that we had our highest single day turnout ever with over 348,000 people, uh, turning out to vote on a single day of early voting. That was our first day. What we did see and we thought that this was really good is that the trend over the remaining 16 days is that the lines leveled off the days the turnout each day leveled off. And so we did not have a great concern about being able to serve the voters incl, sure social distancing and to make sure that they were safe and felt secure in casting their ballot in person at those early voting sites. In total, over 3.6 million votes were cast during early voting, the most ever for North Carolina. We moved to Election Day, November 3rd, where we had nearly all of our polling places open. 2660 sites were open, uh, for voters to turn out on Election Day. This was remarkable because now, on Lee had we challenge the counties to make sure that they had a many sites open as possible. We challenged them that during early voting and on election Day that they should use sites that allowed for more social distancing and could ensure more polling booths, voting booths rather more check in stations, and they rose to the occasion. In that early voting period, we saw sites such as ballrooms on college campuses. Uh, the Panther Stadium was used in Mecklenburg County. A skating rink was used in Gaston County. They thought of creative ways to make sure that we could comply with the standards and the recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services. We also saw what was actually our lowest form of our voting method in this election, Um, in that we only had 900,000 ballots approximately cast on election day. But that was good because we didn't have lines we were able to meet The demand on it proved to be a very smooth day in terms of a presidential election especially. And I will note that, in my knowledge, in my nearly 15 years of working in elections, I believe this is the earliest we've ever gotten. Results posted and been able Thio conclude election night for presidential election. We left our emergency operations center with the last results uploaded at 12:28 a.m. On the Fourth of November that in and of itself is remarkable. And I want to just give a big shout out to the counties and to the state board staff for making that a smooth and, you know, easy process. And to be that responsive s so that we could have our results released, um, to the public and to the media in a timely manner. We did all this with a grand total of 75.4% voter turnout in a pandemic. It is remarkable. And what we're seeing post election is a very positive response. A recent Civitas poll shows that 68% of North Carolinians think the election was conducted fairly. That's the voter confidence that we want to see. And we want to continue to grow and build and continue their confidence in the same manner because of the pandemic. It was critical to us to know that we took every measure possible to ensure the safety of our voters Are workers everyone involved in this election. And we're very proud to say that a recent report indicates that there is no covitz spread linked to voting in North Carolina. That brings us to today. We're going to. I'm going to go through a series of slides to help you understand the audit process that we have gone through, uh, to help you understand what the counties have done to prepare for their county canvas and to bring us to today. Today is a privilege. We have the opportunity to certify and record the voices off 5.5 million North Carolinians who cast their ballots, who recorded their voice in casting their ballots. And that's what the canvas and certification process is about. As a board, you adhere to the Voting Rights Act. Section 11, that says that you will tabulate, count and record the votes. Uh, of voters is also within our state law that we will do this process and prepare the abstracts. We will show to you that we have prepared and can authenticate the accuracy of this election so that you can carry out your duties as defined by federal and state law. Leading up to this meeting, the county canvas process has taken place. That means that in the 10 day period following the election, the county boards met their staff, carried out a number of processes they conducted their sample hand toe I audit, and I'll go into more detail about that during the uh, remaining slides. They have followed a reconciliation process that means that they have compared ballots cast to the number of people who checked in. Uh, that's our poll book process. They have also, uh, looked at their chain of custody determine the number of provisional ballots, that they should have the number of absentee by mail, the number one stop the number of Election Day ballots that were issued and returned by their meth voting method. They then prepared that report to their county board and indicated all eligible ballots that the county boards could count and certified. They did have the board to consider any ballots that could not be read at the precinct level, so that might have required duplication or hand tallying. Uh, they did go through the absentee ballots that were eligible by law to be counted. Those have been considered through a Siris of absentee board meetings that began on September the 29th and then others that continued after Election Day. Because our state doll does allow for us to consider military overseas citizen ballots that were received by the day before county canvas and also absentee ballots that were properly postmarked or delivered to the county Board of Elections office on Election Day. Those could also be considered, and it was determined that those could be considered up until November, the 12th of this election. We also, uh, the county's researched their provisional ballots to determine their eligibility. In most cases, provisional ballots are cast because the individual showed up at a precinct and did not, uh, did not show up in the pull book. That might be because they went to the wrong precinct and chose not to leave that precinct to go to their proper precinct and wanted to vote a provisional ballot. It may be that they made in attempt to register to vote through D. M. V or another governmental agency that we partner with on DSO. These are the types of things that were research by the county boards, uh, to determine if that ballot could be counted or not, and it was presented to the board county boards for them. Thio determined approval once all of that took place. Then they could also certify the election, uh, and signed their abstracts and present those to us. That means they've also finalized their results in our election reporting system, which we published on the State Board website. Since that time, we have been conducting a series of audits to sort of cross check and make sure that everything aligns. We have a data team here at the State Board of Elections that's able to perform many of these audits. So we have a voter history audit Emmanuel Edit audit the sample handed I audit as well that we cross check and then a close contest audit. The voter history audit is a comparison of the A T V forms or the whole book forms, basically and applications to the number of ballots that were actually cast. So those generally match There are some issues where that might not be the case. Uh, it could be because of voter actually checked in, but then left the polling site. That does happen. Uh, it could be because we a step was missed. Where in at the one stop early voting sites. They the worker actually prints the form, Uh, and that's called issue so that they issued the form for the voter to review the voters signs, and we have a record of them checking in and receiving their ballot. But the poll worker may not have actually checked the completion button in the system, and so the counties have to go back through and manually do that process eso Those were the types of things that they're looking for in voter history, and the audit is done. At this 0.75 of 100 counties have fully processed their voter histories. Uh, leading up to this. This is a very, uh, this is a manual process where they would scan those forms if they don't have the actual data because they may not use an electronic poll books on Election day, for example, s Oh, this is This is very common that we would not have this part completed in all 100 counties. But they are able to reconcile because they know the number of people who checked in based upon the numbering system of the forms as well as the ballots cast. So reconciliation has still taken place. But we may not have it all. Elektronik Lee recorded, uh, into our voter history system. What our data team found is The absolute value of the variances for the county's is an average of seven ballots per county, or about 1 1/100 of 1% of ballots cast. I've indicated some of the explanations for these differences, and the county's continued to enter their voter history, which will narrow the variant Aziz they completed. What our data team was able to determine is that the variance is so small that it does not affect the outcome of the canvas contests. So there is certainty in our voter history versus ballots, cast reconciliation and audit process for our votes cast on it. What we're looking at here is that we want to make sure that there is no transcription error. Uh, there are times when we need to manually enter uh, the, um the data I mentioned someone could make. Um uh, could there could be a ballot jam or something. That means that the ballot can be read by the tabulator, and so we determine that there are no transcription errors in, uh, those manual edits that are entered into the, um, tabulation system. What we found is that the errors are very small and do not, uh, change the margin of victory in the canvas contests. The sample handled I audit is actually a requirement by statute that has been in place since 2000 and six. Uh, this is a check of the accuracy of the voting equipment. We go through a random selection the day after the election. Counties do not know what will be selected for them, but we do a drawing of of two precincts. They can also be absentee by mail or one stop early voting sites. And this year, these random selection generated 150 Election Day precincts, 30 other excuse me, 30 early voting sites and, um, a little more than a dozen absentee by mail. Uh, precincts were drawn, so the county's then proceeded to do a direct hand. I count of those randomly selected precincts. Uh, they did so for the highest contests on the ballot. So this year it is the presidential contest and determined whether there were any discrepancies between the voting equipment and what was marked on the paper by the voter. Uh, out of the 200 precincts that were audited, there was on Lee a difference in 13 precincts. So that is a very small number. And we can account for that as even either a human error by the voter where perhaps they circled a name and did not actually make a mark in the target, which would be the oval or the box on the ballad Something of that nature. And then the other difference could be human error in the tallying that takes place during the sample hand I audit. But out of this is a very small portion, and it gives us confidence that are voting equipment was accurate and performed properly. And then there is a deeper audit for close contest. Um, this compares the margin of victory with the other aforementioned variances as well as factoring in provisional ballots. And if we determined any variation, we actually do send that audit data to the counties for them to research further because obviously we're looking at data where the counties can actually look directly at the provisional envelope and consider the circumstances of whether that was counted properly or not. In all of this, the close contest audit revealed no issues that would be affect the outcome of any of the contest that we're canvassing today with this we have prepared for you, uh, certification materials. The counties have finalized their results and completed their canvas. We do have certificates of elections prepared for the prevailing candidates and we have provided you with the extensive list. It's 17 pages, so I'm not going to go over each candidate who won in the contest that is available and has been provided to US state board members. But we are prepared. Thio do the abstracts for these contests and, uh, with the exclusion of a handful that are in the process of having a protest to be considered. That is, with the North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice seat, the Weight County District Court Judge, 10 F House District 36 which is in Wake County. Hoke County Board of Election and the Wayne County Register of Deeds. So with that, um, I put before you a request for a motion to approve the canvas, uh, of the votes cast in the ballot items within the jurisdiction of the State Board of Election and authenticate every ballot item within the county, uh, for the November 3rd general election. Excluding the following contest, which I just listed the chief Justice of the Supreme Court, District Court, Judge 10 F. House District 36 Hoke County Board of Education and Wayne County Register of Deeds. I'd also ask that with this motion that you would consider authorizing the state board staff to affix Elektronik signatures for the board members to the canvas documents. And with that, Mr Chairman, that concludes my presentation. And I'm happy to answer questions. Executive Director Bell. Thank you so much for the presentation. And I'm gonna open up for board member questions in just a second. But I wanna add just a few things about your beginning remarks there. Uh, first and foremost, I noticed you. You mentioned a poll that said 68% of voters believe that thing was conducted fairly in a day and age, when it's almost impossible to get anything to be anything other than 50 50 I believe 68% is a good start, and I feel like it's our job and work you've been doing already to make sure that we increase that number to 100%. Uh, the second thing I want to mention is a bit of gratitude, you know, here in the state board of elections. We are governed by the laws of the state of North Carolina, passed by the General Assembly. And as you'll recall Executive Director Bell, there was a moment earlier this year when the pandemic was in full swing, where we had legitimate concerns about whether or not we'd be able to conduct this election. Fortunately, the North Carolina General Assembly in a bipartisan fashion, uh, helped change some of the laws to do some of the things that we needed to get done. Now, obviously in May and June, when they were considering that bipartisan legislation, they couldn't anticipate every consequence. So I'm also very grateful for the election administration apparatus in the state doing all they did, uh, to make sure that this election was conducted fairly. And I have to say, I am extraordinarily proud in the midst of a pandemic that we broke all sorts of turnout records. If there is anything that is important in North Carolina in American society, it's that every eligible voter can have their vote cast and counted. And so with that, I am grateful for the work of your staff, you all 100 bipartisan county boards of elections and their staffs as well. And with that, I will ask if any board numbers have any questions. Mr. Chairman, we'll start with Mr Tucker. And then I thought I heard Mr Eggers as well. So, Mr Tucker, you first and then Mr Eggers. Yes, sir. Thank you. Just a simple question Based on the request for emotion on the canvas, that does not mean that we certify the election with that vote or motion, does it? Uh, I'm not sure I quite understand your question, but this would be the certification of our election. If the motion carries our job is to authenticate every ballot within, uh the county. And then, of course, the stuff that is statewide Certify that as well. Eso this This motion that is requested by the director and will probably be put on the table by you or a board member Is the actual certification of the election correct? Yes, it is. With the exception of the motion that she requested Excludes five seats that are still under protest. But yes, that's yes sir, I understand. Thank you. You're welcome, Mr Eggers? Yes. Are a question for either Director Bell or general counsel Love. It's my understanding. There's also a pending protest for the attorney general litigation filed by Justice Movie eyes that's still pending, Or can you speak to the status of that as toe? Whether that should be included with emotion to canvas or not, I think that's probably best for general counsel. Love. Yes, sir. The initial protests that were eight that were filed by Paul Newby, um, included reference to the attorney general's contests. However, when those eight protests were appealed to the state Board, the attorney general's contest was not included in those appeals. Notice was not given to the attorney general and the motion for continuance that was recently filed by Mr Newby and printed by the chair also Onley included the chief justice of the Supreme Court contest. Therefore, there are no other protests relating just us. So it's your legal advice to us that any protest or appeal related to the attorney general's race has been abandoned and that it's proper for us to rule on certification. Yes, sir. All right. Thank you, ma'am. At Mr Chairman, I would, uh, echo your sentiments. And thanks as to our 100 county directors who have tirelessly worked through this process as well as, um, all of our county board members, precinct workers and one stop workers there. The They're the ones that really do the heavy lifting. Not us. I appreciate your sentiments and agree wholeheartedly. Uh, any other questions for our staff? Not a question. Go ahead. Questions. I would echo the sentiments for the gratitude. And thanks for the tireless efforts on the part of everyone at the state board and within the 100 counties. Um uh, for, um, successfully carrying out an election under really extraordinary circumstances. And I would move that the state Board canvass the votes cast in all ballot items within the jurisdiction of the state board and authenticate every ballot, um, within the county for the November 3rd general election. Excluding the contest mentioned previously where the protest process has not concluded. And that is the chief justice of the Supreme Court District Court Judge 10 F. Wake County House District 36 Wake County. Hoke County Board of Education, Wayne County Register of Deeds. It's been moved. Is there a second? Yeah, I second And I would, um, Also add on that will be the the board staff. Be allowed to affix our electronics. Yes, ISAT, Dr. Anderson is that, uh is that in concurrence with your motion? That that And they'd also be Make sure you get the motion. Right. Got it. So the motion, The motion is, as stated by Dr Anderson and also been amended friendly to include the affection of electronic signatures. All right, that is the motion before the board discussion. Hearing none. I'll go ahead and call the roll. Dr. Anderson, how do you vote by Mr Eggers? How do you vote I Mr Carmen? How do you vote I Mr Tucker? How do you vote, Mr uh No. And chair votes I motion carries for one. Okay, next item of business. And thanks very much to the staff and everybody who did the work that they did. We have the consideration of requests for waivers of late filing penalties. You might recall that this came up for us right before the election. In per request from Mr Eggers, we tabled to a date certain, which is today Lindsay weekly in our state office has been, uh, driving this show Miss Weekly. Why don't you go ahead and have the floor? Okay. Thank you and good morning board members. Eso, as the chairman just stated at the October 26 2020 meeting, the board voted to table all waiver requests from candidates on the 2020 general election ballot and to cure those waivers after November 24th board meeting. Um, as a result, there are 13 waiver requests rescheduled for hearing today, and of this group, staff are recommending a waiver of nine penalties and the denial of a waiver of four penalties. We did not make any changes to these recommendations between October 26 on today. Um, as we've discussed before, the state board may waive the penalty for a late campaign finance report if it determines there is good cause for the waiver. It is within the state boards discretion toe wave an entire penalty or to reduce the penalty by any amount. And again, in developing these recommendations, staff considered the following whether the weight report was the first late report of the committee or the first late report within the last 10 years, whether the late report was due prior to or after an election in which the candidate was on the ballot, whether the late report resulted in any contribution or expenditure not being disclosed to the public and whether the late report resulted from a family emergency, severe illness or hospitalization, natural disaster or other unforeseen circumstance. That's all I have in terms of an overview. And I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. Uh, Miss Wheatley, thank you so much. It's been practiced that we break up this into two motions, right? A motion for approval on emotion for denial. Is that right, or can we handle this in one motion? That is correct. I think we've historically done it as two motions which I think keeps it a little little clear when we are actually dealing with the letters in the further communications to the to each committees as well. Understood? Well, I'm gonna ask my colleague, Mr Eggers, if he has any motions he might wanna offer on this scene is how it was tabled last time from your world. E appreciate the board's indulgence in moving those matters that we're on our ballots to this date. And, Mr Chairman, I would make a move motion that we, uh, adopts fast recommendations as to the, uh, request to grant the waivers in the nine reflected on Miss Weeklies of spreadsheet. Is there a second? Second, Mr Tucker? Seconds. It's been moved in second that we adopt staff's recommendation for approval of the waivers that they sent to us. And with that, I will call the roll. Dr. Anderson? Uh, Mr Eggers. Hi, Mr Carmen. I Mr Tucker, uh, chair votes I motion carries unanimously. Is there a motion? Um, additional motion? Mr. Chairman, I'll make a companion motion, uh, to the previous one that we deny the four request for waiver penalties as reflected in the spreadsheet and research prepared by staff. Is there a second? I second, Mr Carmen Seconds. It's been moved in second that we adopt staff recommendation as it pertains to denial of waivers. I'll call the roll, Dr. Anderson. Mr. Eggers, I Mr Carmen, uh, I Mr Tucker, uh, chair votes I emotion carries unanimously. Thank you very much. Miss Weekly. Much appreciate your work on that matter. Next up is a preliminary consideration of county board member complaints. I'm gonna turn it over to executive Director love so that she may give the public an understanding of what we are going to be doing here today? Did I say executive director Love E. Saw you two smiling general counsel love e Apologize for the confusion. General counsel. Love, Can you go ahead and give us the lay of the land? Certainly so before the board today are two complaints that were filed by Ricky Wilson against Brenda Bowman and Hicks, who are members of the Camden County Board of Elections. Um, the rule provides a process where any registered voter can file a complaint against a county Board of Elections member for participating in a regularities, violating the elections laws, breach of duty, incapacity or incompetent Once the State Board of Elections receives such complaints, the first step is for the state board to meet and consider whether the complaint US filed includes prima fascia evidence of one of the issues I just mentioned. And so what the board is to do today is thio review those complaints and determine whether the complaint should be dismissed or whether to schedule an evidence you're hearing. The board will not be hearing today from a complainant or the county board members in the event of Spaces votes toe, hold it. Evidence you're hearing that is the time on. That is the time when they would be able Thio. But on evidence in particular, um, there is a prohibition in 1 63-39 on county board members and county employees as well a state board members and state board employees from making any written or oral statement intended for general distribution or dissemination to the public at large, either supporting or opposing the nomination or election. One more clearly identified candidates for public office, and that section does not prohibit individual expressions of opinions. Quarter opposition if they're not intended for general public. Just eso that concludes what I understand. Thank you, General Counsel Love. I will, uh I just want to mention something here at the top, Executive rector Brinson Bell talked about ah poll that says that 68% of North Carolinians believe elections were conducted fairly. One of the ways in which we could get that number from 68% to 90 90% is make sure that all of US county board members, state board members, refrain from supporting or opposing candidates and public mediums. This is not a new issue to come before this board in fact, in my short tenure here, I think we've dealt with many of these. I believe that there is enough here that we need Thio, go ahead and schedule a hearing. And so I'm gonna just go ahead and move that the state board find prime a factual evidence of a violation in the complaint against both members, uh, member Hicks and member Bowman on that, we scheduled an evidentiary hearing. Uh, in accordance with 08 n c a. C 030103 But I'm gonna limit the hearing. Shall be limit. I'm gonna limit the subject of that hearing to public statements. Supporting or opposing clearly identified candidates. Uh, is there a second to my motion? A second, Mr Tucker. Seconds. Uh, is there discussion? Okay, hearing none. I'll go ahead and call the roll. Dr. Anderson, I Mr. Eggers I Mr Carmen I Mr Tucker, I chair boats I motion carries unanimously. Um e believe Executive Director Bell That's all the business we have before us today. Is that true? That is correct, sir. Some of the other items we had anticipated got continued or were not needed. Well, i e I will say this. Just a second. Mr. Tucker, I'll get to you in just two seconds. I will say this. State Board members need to be mindful of the fact that our work is not done while we certified in canvas the overwhelming majority of elections in the state. We still do have some protest spending that will need to hear, um, if they are appealed from the county and then some that will need to hear regardless, uh, that work will continue over the coming weeks. Uh, and so just please be mindful that that is coming, Mr Tucker. Yes, sir. Mr. Chairman, may I have a moment of personal privilege? Absolutely. Thank you, sir. I appreciate the opportunity to speak. I felt it necessary that I explained my no vote on the certification of the election. Uh, and that's based on the fact that I have a personal concern not only for our country, but also for the state that people have the, uh, integrity of the election. Um, this has been the most controversial election, both nationwide. Uh, as in my lifetimes, I could remember, and about 74 million people who do not think the election overall nationwide was, um, carried out properly. Uh, I am glad to hear that. The Civitas poll said that North Carolinians think 68% of the people think the election was, uh, done fairly. Um, I will concur with that, but my concern is is the constitutionality of some of the conduct of this board the attorney general, the director and the general counsel. I think one of the bedrocks of our republic is the peaceful transfer of power. Um, it has worked for 233 years. James Madison said we are a law. We are a nation of laws, not of men. And it really doesn't matter who wins or loses an election. In my estimation, we must follow the U. S. Constitution. Um, I don't mind that Governor Cooper is again for the next four years. My governor, he was my governor in the past. Hey, and I grew up nine miles apart. I went to school with some of his relatives. His mom was a school teacher and mentor. Many of the girls I went to high school with to get them to join in and become public school teachers, And Mr Biden looks like he's going to be our next president and he will be my president. I don't have any problem with, uh, what's going on, um, with the election, other than the irregularities that we have been found and have been asserted needs to be, um, vetted and needs to determine what went on. But I think the unconstitutional changes that this board director and attorney general and lawyers and courts made 90 days before the election really created a lot of confusion for the county boards. One county board of director says The law says one thing, and the director says another. I took a oath to uphold the U. S. Constitution, and in my 14 years in public office, every time I won an election or was appointed to a public office, I took that oath, and I take it seriously and in the Constitution, and I'll read it. Um, it says that the times, places and manner of holding elections shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof. Therefore, that means that no court, federal or state, no state board of elections, no secretary of state and no director can change the election laws in a state based on what the Constitution says, and certainly the Constitution could not be ratified by the states until they were ableto be able to make their own election laws. So, um, I go through the process and I see all the changes now. I was sworn in on October the eighth. I've been here for 45 days roughly, and I just see the things that went on. First of all, the director went to the General Assembly and the bipartisan bill. As you mentioned earlier, Mr Chair gave her about a third of what she asked for, and then consequently, while the Legislature was still in a session which she could have gone back and gotten additional concessions, I guess she felt like she could not. So, therefore, while I was serving on the Rules Commission, uh, the temporary rule, which would go around the General Assembly and the people's elected officials, uh, was presented to the Rules Commission and she received a 70 vote of note that these changes could not be made. Then there was an emergency order and different things that came through that changed a lot of the way that we conduct elections again. the only people that can change the state laws according to the U. S. Constant election laws, according to the U. S. Constitution. Is the Legislature what you mean? Yeah, E sir, Let me finish. Let me finish. Please be. Think I'll conclude in about three or four minutes, sir. I'll in respect for me. Allow me to finish. And you, Mr I'm gonna let you. I'm gonna I'm gonna certainly let you finish it Finish. But I hope you'll be able to answer some questions if other board members have them. Oh, absolutely. Be morning glasses, Uh, and also to to the North Carolinians that are listening today. There waas based on the 2020-19, uh, directive from the state Board of Elections. There was no signature verifications used, um, although it's not required by state law, um, boards of elections, generally looking a ballot and find out that that ballot, um, may need to have a verification by the signature on the file. They were asked not to do that. So no verification and many of the witnesses that signed onto the ballots were illegible or just scribbled with no name or address on it, so um, moving forward from there. Uh ah. Third attempt and and and a successful one, by the way, by the director and this board and a g. Stein, whom I served with on state lead in the state Senate. And, uh, G. Stein's a very smart and bright lawyer. He teamed up with Marc Elias, a Super Democrat attorney who was the attorney for the McCreedy new election. Um, and he wailed on the fact that there was ballot harvesting and call for a new election, which there was one. But he, uh uh there was a secret settlement held in closed session, um, and with the A G that he took a 1985 law and determined that the Legislature had given him the right to settle the lawsuit. Our chairman will tell me very quickly that that was within the law that the General Assembly gave gave the board that right, and he moved forward with a five votes. However, if you look at that law, it reflects about the election of county commission school boards and city officers, and that the A G should not have settled uh, that lawsuit because of the security protocols in the election have been severely reduced. And then let's not forget Judge Osteen's comment in his UH, order. He came through and said, based on the evidence presented to this court, the county boards of election or using a cure affidavit that does not seek any witness information, even though the affidavit is being used to cure missing witness information. And he went on to further say it is inconceivable to this court that after months of litigation, the State Board of Election has implemented a cure process that fails to comply with the express requirements of state law. So there were things that did go on now, Ah, Director Bell has shared with me about the media accolades from Washington Post about the new website that's transparent and informative. I'll say that in my career I've never really received any accolades from the press, nor will I receive them today. But the media said that the State Board of Elections was responsive and I will give it to general counsel Bill. She will get on it and she will respond and let me just say Director Bell and general counsel Love are very smart, intelligent women, and they are responsible, so I don't mean to demean them. But I feel like the what went on to change this, uh, in constitutionality it was unconstitutional. So, uh, with that Mr Chair and to my fellow board member, I'll begin by including that we need to get this right before the next election that we don't need to be changing election laws unless we go before the General Assembly. And it's easy to say that each one of these things that were imposed by this board is just a small change, which is in some estimates, not a big deal. But the reality is these changes do not matter as long as the elections air not close. And thankfully in North Carolina we did not have a close election like in other states. I think the Democrats filed 416 lawsuits nationally, which created chaos, overwhelmed the post office. And then, um, we did not have a close race in judicial races, the legislative races or in the other to accept the five that were mentioned. So as I sit here today, the changes imposed did not change the outcome of the election in North Carolina. The right people were elected and they were selected by the voters. However it is winning an election is close. Ladies and gentlemen, that are people lose confidence in the board as we're seeing nationally, and I don't want North Carolina to fall in that place. They lose confidence in their democracy. And that's just the way it goes. Should this unelected board make changes to the rules of the game in violation of the Constitution in state law while the election is underway, this practice needs to stop. And I implore you in the future to go before the General Assembly, as the United States Constitution asked and says to go before the General Assembly and asked for the changes in election law that you think you need so let moving forward. That's all my comments. Mr. Chair, I am grateful to you for allowing me to speak to explain my no vote on the certification. I do commend the staff and council for the hard work that they have done on this election in the county boards, and we'll move forward from here. Thank you, sir. Mr Common. Any questions? I have no questions, but I would like to say I would like to say if we're going to operate as a board, if we're going to move forward, that such allegations shouldn't be made. We are living through a pan damage now. I don't know if anyone else on this board has lost a loved one. A friend or a colleague to this virus. I want to thank everyone who took steps to make it easier or every North Carolinian to vote and vote in a safe manner. So as to the allegations off collusion, I find that dishonorable. To hear that, e I would like to again thank Executive Bill Council, love and all of the attorneys on staff who work tirelessly deep into the night to make this elections fair and safe. That's the conclusion for my statement, Mr Chair. Mr. Chair. Yes, Mr Tucker. May I respond? I don't believe he answered. Asked you a question. As such, I think your moment of personal privileges expired. I'll ask any other board members out of a sense of fairness. If they have anything they wish to say before we conclude this meeting. Hearing a statement Yes. Oh, Doctor, go ahead Just briefly. It's not Director Bell or General counsel of that pursuit are cause to be an active. The two pictures that came about as a result of the of trying to carry out a safe and fair elections in the middle of a pandemic and that those were modest things. Ah, court ordered cure process on and a consent agreement that allowed for the acceptance of balance until November 12, when postmarked by Election Day. And those were done in in recognition of significant issues with the United States. Post the five members of the board at the time. We're in agreement that those were reasonable efforts to pursue. They were pursued through courts of law that I would expect that all of us here would respect what they order and what they conclude. The challenges have tried to be pursued through the through the court, and they have not been sustained. We were not operating under any, um, anything that was outside of what court order and supported Mr Chairman, you've allowed to members to speak. You said my prime of personal privilege was up and then they make statements about what I said and you allow no response from me. That is generally not the way you operate, you allow everyone to speak freely and I don't take I'm not making any personal statements or any allegations. I'm simply making a statement. Fact. Well, Mr Tucker, let's just get through every board member. Give them the same opportunity we gave you, and I'll decide how long I want this process to continue. Mr. Eggers, do you everything you wish to say? Uh, yes, Mr Chairman, Um, I have since joining this board, believed Mr Tucker said we've been here for 45 days. Uh, I've read, I think, approximately about 400 pages worth of court orders to catch myself up to speed. Uh, and in reading through those, I am particularly troubled by the comments and observations And, uh, Judge Osteen, um, as to how things unfolded, do you believe Mr Tucker's point as to the need of this board to try and stay out of politics and to try and stay out of, um, legal matters is, uh is and should be well taken. Uh, that, although we all, uh, of course, have partisan monikers next to our names. As we sit on this board, the voters of this state do require us to act. Uh, essentially, uh, with the lens of if the shoe were on the other foot or if it were my candidate in this position, how would we consider our rule on certain things? Uh, you know, I do believe our reputation as a board has taken quite a hit through the courts for the last two months. I hope that that can be restored and that we can, uh, ensure that we have the safety and confidence, uh, of all of the voters of North Carolina and our actions to follow the law. And also be mindful that it is, of course, our role to apply the law and not to make it. Thank you, Mr Eggers. I'm gonna conclude this meeting with a statement from the heresy on that I'm gonna ask for in German. Uh, you're right, Mr Eggers. We're not supposed to comment on which political party we'd like to see triumph or which political party we'd like to see win elections. Uh, that's not our job. Our job is to make sure that the 5.5 million people who voted in this state had their voice heard. I will note that those 5.5 million people made some interesting decisions. They elected a Democratic governor and they chose a Republican to be our selection for United States president. We, as a board are going toe, have toe, realize that we live in a state where neither side has a monopoly on the will of the people. If we're going to work together as a board, we're going to have to understand that we might differ on how things should be done. We might differ on the best course of action, but we all must agree that our first and foremost job is to follow the law and ensure that the void, er, the voters have the final say in all matters. I'm disappointed that we did not get a unanimous vote for certification. Our job today was to certify the election so that the voters who voted in it could have confidence in that election. And the work done by the County Board of Elections by the State Board of Elections by all 500 members, both Republican and Democrat, to ensure the sanctity of vote has been done and there's really no other option except to support such a certification. But Just because I want something to be unanimous doesn't mean it will always be so. I respect the fact that Senator Tucker is able to vote however he so chooses. And I hope that moving forward, we can work together. That being said, nothing in this conversation nor that happened today should detract from the fact that this election was secure. This election was safe. This election was conducted in the midst of pandemic, and yet we achieved record turnout. Anything other than gratitude for the people working on this just does not seem to sit well with me. And with that, I will, uh, ask for a motion to adjourn. Miss Chairman, you're not gonna let me speak, Mr Chair? You're not gonna let me speak, Mr Tucker? Everybody on this board was afforded the same right to speak. All five of us did. I appreciated your moment of personal privilege. And with that, I'm gonna ask for a moment. A motion to adjourn someone. Is there a second? Thanks. Second, it's been moving second that we adjourn. Uh, I'll call the roll. Dr. Anderson. Hi, Mr Eggers. Hi, Mr Carmen I Mr Tucker, No meeting is adjourned on a vote for one. Thank you very much. And thank you very much to staff for all the work you did to get us to this point. But uh huh.