Cary, N.C. County election board members must work as colleagues and not political rivals, the new Republican chairman of the State Board of Elections said Wednesday as recent local board dust-ups have led to allegations of partisanship and voter suppression. Josh Howard addressed nearly 500 local elections board members, directors and staff at a statewide training seminar, the first since all 100 county boards came under GOP control this year after 20 years in Democratic hands. Republicans now hold 2-1 majorities in counties because Gov. Pat McCrory was elected. But the division has gotten more attention in the past week as Democrats and civil rights groups are fuming over actions by Republican elections board members in Pasquotank and Watauga counties that could make it harder for college students to vote.
Video footage of part of the tension-filled Watauga County board meeting last week has received more than 28,000 views on the Internet.
Howard, a former federal prosecutor, urged the new board members to respect each other and the citizens who come before them.
“The real theme of the conference needs to be ‘let’s not have any more of our meetings show up on YouTube,'” Howard told the crowd.