Lt. Governor Dan Forest Submits Comment to the State Board of Elections

Raleigh

Lt. Governor Dan Forest submits the following public comment to the State Board of Elections regarding their proposed rule change:

"I am in opposition to two rule changes being proposed by the State Board of Elections.

First, the proposed rule change to 08 NCAC 02 .0111 concerning election protests will have the effect of silencing all election protests. The proposed rule substantially increases the length of the form to file an election protest by inserting new administrative hoops that a prospective protester would have to jump through.

Among these new hurdles, the requirement that the protester be required to serve copies on all affected parties will, in effect, preclude most citizens and campaign committees from being able to lodge a protest for investigation by the Board of Elections. For instance, were a citizen to believe it to be a fact that 800 votes were illegally cast in an election, not only would the citizen be required to file the protest with the Board of Elections, but would also have to serve each one of the 800 alleged voters with a copy of “all filings.” This would mean the preparation of thousands of pieces of paper, 800 envelopes, and 800 stamps. The number of hours it would take for a citizen to prepare such a request would be unthinkable. In addition, all of this would need to be completed within one business day of the filing of the protest. It appears that this new procedure would do nothing except invite voter fraud and discourage citizens from being active in the protest and canvassing process.

If these new rules are implemented, there will be no practical way for an individual citizen or a campaign committee organization to logistically file a legitimate protest to instances of suspected election fraud. Common sense alone dictates that if fraud can't be challenged, then fraud will grow exponentially when left unchecked. I base my opinion on my own personal campaign experience as a candidate. During my first run for office in 2012, when I won by less than a quarter of a percentage point, my campaign filed several election challenges. Under the proposed rules it would have been logistically impossible to file a legitimate election protest against suspected election fraud.

Second, it is my strong belief that the proposed 08 NCAC 01 .0106 should be modified to allow the executive director the authority to exercise emergency power only after the State Board of Elections (or its successor organization) makes a decision that emergency powers are needed. To allow the executive director the ability to exercise emergency powers when the executive director finds it to be necessary simply places too much control in the hands of one person.

Thank you for your attention and consideration of these comments, and it is my hope that you will revisit these issues and make the necessary changes to ensure that we have a fair election process in North Carolina."

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