Gov. Roy Cooper has appointed four Democrats and four Republicans to the new merged board overseeing state elections and ethics enforcement. Cooper announced the appointments as he continues to fight state lawmakers in court over the board’s creation.

Cooper eventually will appoint a ninth unaffiliated board member. He will choose that person from two names submitted by the eight party-affiliated appointees.

The appointments mean that North Carolina will have a working board overseeing elections and ethics issues for the first time in more than a year.

Democratic appointees to the new board are: Stella Anderson of Watauga County, a management professor at the Appalachian State University business school; Valerie Johnson, a Durham attorney; Joshua Dale Malcolm of Pembroke, attorney for the UNC-Pembroke Board of Trustees; and Andy Penry, a Raleigh attorney. Malcolm was a member of the previous State Board of Elections.

Republican appointees are: Stacy “Four” Eggers IV, a Boone attorney; John Randolph Hemphill, a Raleigh attorney; John Malachi Lewis of Mt. Pleasant, deputy counsel for the N.C. Republican Party; and Ken Raymond of Winston-Salem, owner and manager of a notary service.

Friday, March 16, marked the day the new nine-member board took effect. House Bill 90 created the board. It replaced two previous versions of a merged elections and ethics board. Courts had rejected both previous versions of the board.

The governor continues to fight the new nine-member board. His lawyers have argued that the board infringes on his right to exercise control over membership of the agency overseeing state elections.

Before state lawmakers’ first attempt in December 2016 to merge the state elections and ethics boards, state elections had been administered by a five-member board. The governor’s party held three seats on that board. The other major political party held the other two seats. Cooper has urged state courts to restore that system.

In a statement, the board’s Executive Director Kim Strach congratulated the newly appointed board members as they prepared for the May 8 primary. She also thanked Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway and other Wake County judges who dealt with elections-related cases while the board was vacant.

Strach noted the 100 county boards of elections had to work 288 days without any state board members in place.

“Without a State Board, county board members that should have been seated in July 2017 could not be appointed, nor have vacancies on those boards been filled. As such, hundreds of county board members have held over since May 2017 and met more than 1,100 times since. Ongoing litigation and court orders meant that the county boards were required to take all action on a unanimous basis,” a press release from the board said.

“We applaud the efforts of county board members and staff who have worked tirelessly with patience and professionalism under trying circumstances,” Strach said.

Cooper’s eight appointments came from lists of six people nominated by the two major parties. Among the notable nominees whom Cooper did not appoint: Democrat Gary Bartlett, former staff director of the previous State Board of Elections; and Republican Francis De Luca, former president of the conservative Civitas Institute.