by Dr. Andy Jackson
Director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity, John Locke Foundation
The following is part of my prepared testimony at a Rules Review Commission meeting today. I spoke against proposed temporary changes to regulations for precinct officials and election observers made by the North Carolina State Board of Elections:
The temporary rule process is not appropriate for the proposed changes. There have been no related changes in state or federal election law, there have been no related court orders, and the State Board of Elections has failed to establish any need for these changes to “preserve the integrity of upcoming elections and the elections process” (GS 150B-21.1).
Instead, the justification for the changes is based on feedback from an unspecified “dozens” of election officials. That is a flimsy justification for bypassing the normal rulemaking process.
For the improper use of the temporary rules process, the commission should object to the proposed rules.
(There may have been some minor variance between my prepared testimony and what I said.)
I also had specific objections to aspects of the proposed rule change for election observers but did not state them because they were outside the scope of the board’s motion that only considered the need to use the temporary rulemaking process.
Several other people spoke at the meeting. All except for Paul Cox, State Board Associate General Counsel, spoke against the proposals.
The RRC voted against both proposed rule changes. The State Elections Board could modify the proposed rules changes and bring them up again, but it is unlikely given the limited time before the election.
UPDATE: The RRC voted to stop the SBE from implementing the temporary rule changes.