Trump campaign, RNC sue to block NC’s mail-in voting changes
President Trump’s 2020 campaign committee and the Republican National Committee are suing the North Carolina State Board of Elections after the board’s recent legal settlement making rules governing absentee ballots less restrictive.
“North Carolina Democrats colluded in a backroom deal to overhaul North Carolina’s election procedures just weeks before Election Day,” RNC spokesperson Mandi Merritt told Fox News in a statement. “This new system will allow absentee ballots to be cast late and without proper witness verification, which invites fraud.”
“With an influx of mail-in voting, it is more important than ever to uphold election safeguards and confidence in the process,” she said.
A spokesman for the North Carolina Democratic Party called the lawsuit a “despicable attempt to shake the public’s faith in the process and scare off new voters.”
“But with more than one million absentee ballots already requested and almost 250,000 returned and accepted, it clearly isn’t working,” the party’s spokesman told Fox News in a statement.
The elections board on Tuesday issued new guidance allowing mail-in absentee ballots with deficient information to be fixed without forcing the voter to fill out a new blank ballot for November’s general election.
Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer who helped sue in North Carolina court to seek the changes and has worked on similar absentee ballot litigation elsewhere, praised the decision.
“The steps (the board) agreed to take will enfranchise tens of thousands of voters, or more,” tweeted Elias, who helped the North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans in the lawsuit.
The change means absentee voters who don’t provide complete information on their envelope about a witness who saw them fill out the ballot won’t have to complete a new ballot and locate another witness. A voter will just have to turn in an affidavit confirming they filled out the original ballot.
The suit comes after Ken Raymond and David Black, the only two Republicans on the five-person state elections board, submitted their resignations on Wednesday night, saying they were misled about the ramifications of the board’s recent legal settlement. The board’s Democratic chairman, Damon Circosta, said their claims are untrue.
Black’s wife, Deb Black, ignited a firestorm when she wrote on Facebook that the Republicans were “told to resign,” The Charlotte Observer reported.
“A lot of what she wrote about is stuff that’s on the surface. I think, the best thing to do is to say that she loves me very much, and I love her very much and I appreciate some of the things she writes and sometimes she gets her hackles up,” David Black told The Charlotte Observer.
The North Carolina GOP disputed Deb Black’s characterization.
“We can’t order anybody to resign,” NCGOP spokesman Tim Wigginton told The Charlotte Observer. “But we did have conversations with him that we were very unhappy.”
Fox News’ inquiries to the Trump campaign and NCSBE were not returned at the time of publication.
Fox News’ Frank Miles and The Associated Press contributed to this report.