NC Board of Elections chair resigns, report says
The chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Elections has resigned, Gov. Roy Cooper’s spokesperson confirmed Saturday.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that Andy Penry has stepped down as leader of the board, saying “he did not want his partisan views to undermine a widening investigation into alleged election fraud in the 9th Congressional District race.”
Efforts to reach Penry were unsuccessful.
Ford Porter, Cooper’s spokesperson, issued a statement Saturday afternoon: “The Governor has accepted Mr. Penry’s resignation and appreciates his service to our state.”
Penry, a Democrat, has come under fire from state Republican leaders after his social media posts on Twitter about President Donald Trump suggested the board’s investigation was tilted, they said. Penry’s Twitter feed no longer is public.
Wake County GOP Chairman Charles Hellwig filed a complaint this week against Penry. He cited a state law prohibiting board members from making public comments supporting or opposing candidates and referendums. Trump is a declared 2020 candidate.
Hellwig’s complaint included 17 pages of examples of tweets the Raleigh lawyer has sent since Gov. Roy Cooper appointed him to the board in March. In addition to negative comments about Trump, he tweeted com- ments about Trump supporters, Sen. Ted Cruz, the proposed constitutional amendment establishing an eight-member bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement, and then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
State law requires anyone on the state board to not make “written or oral statements intended for general distribution or dissemination” to the public that supports or opposes a candidate or nominee for office or a referendum or ballot proposal.
Nine members make up the state Board of Elections, which included four Democrats, four Republicans and one unaffiliated member.
Earlier this week, the board agreed not to certify the results of the 9th Congressional District race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. Harris leads the race by 905 votes in unofficial results, but there have been questions raised about absentee ballots in the race.