by Dr. Andy Jackson
Director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity, John Locke Foundation
The following is my brief statement at a November 17 meeting of the Rules Review Commission. It was against part of 08 NCAC 04 .0308, which proposed new rules from the North Carolina State Board of Elections on access to election system vendor information held by the board.
I am Andy Jackson, Director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity at the John Locke Foundation.
I speak in opposition to the proposed rule 0308.
General Statute 163-165.7(f)(9) establishes “procedures for the review and examination of any information placed in escrow by a vendor” of election systems. It further states, “For purposes of this review and examination, any designees under this subdivision and the State party chairs shall be treated as public officials.”
The clear intent of the law is to provide reasonable access to voting system vendor information to political party officials, among others. The political party access is especially important because all other people granted access to that information are government officials.
The restriction limiting chairs of each political party to examining voting system information once every two years is well beyond any limit stated or implied by statute. As such, it goes against the statute’s intent, and therefore the State Board of Elections lacks statutory authority to create or enforce that rule.
The commission voted not to authorize the rule, but several commissioners stated a willingness to revisit it after the SBE makes some revisions.