The North Carolina State Board of Elections held a public comment hearing Monday, soliciting input on a proposed rule that will make falsely reporting voter fraud a felony. The new rule would also require protesters to describe facts, reveal if a lawyer helped them make their claims, and say whether they have any witnesses to the alleged voter fraud. ”We all know laws are written by human beings, and sometimes they’re not very clear.” said Executive Director of the N.C. Republican Party Dallas Woodhouse, who opposes the rule change. “This issue of protest is amazingly clear in the statute. It is written specifically how to do it and what is required of the voter. [The State Board of Elections] does not have the power to rewrite the statute.
”The legislature can overrule any rules the board adopts if they find they do not comply with existing statutes.During the extended and contentious gubernatorial election of 2016 between then-incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, and his Democratic challenger, now-Gov. Roy Cooper, more than 600 complaints were filed in 50 counties alleging voter fraud.
Bob Hall, executive director of the left-leaning voting rights group Democracy North Carolina, contends that the vast majority of those alleged fraud complaints were wrong. Hall said at the Monday hearing that Republican actors were using fraud charges for personal political gain.
On the other hand, Woodhouse argued that the changes, beyond being outside of the board’s legal jurisdiction, would having a cooling affect on voters’ ability to contest fraud.