NC Board of Elec­tions chair re­signs, re­port says

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Local - BY JOE JOHN­SON jjohn­[email protected]­ald­ Lau­ren Horsch con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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.

Andy Penry

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