The final step in the N.C. Green Party’s journey to be on the state’s 2022 ballots may be in sight, as Judge James Dever, the federal judge overseeing the NCGP’s lawsuit against the N.C. State Board of Elections, released an order Monday signaling the case was made “moot” by the NCSBE’s decision to certify the Greens as a party.

This likely indicates the Green Party’s candidates will not be held to the July 1 candidate deadline and will be allowed on the ballot.

James C. Dever III U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

“The NCSBE’s unanimous decision certifying the NCGP as a new political party appears to moot plaintiff’s requests for a declaratory judgement and an injunction ordering NCSBE to certify NCGP as a new political party entitled to place its candidates on the ballot for the November 8, 2022 general election,” wrote Dever.

The order quotes an earlier statement from the NCSBE stating that they would not oppose setting aside the July 1 candidate filing deadline for N.C. Green Party candidates in the event the party was eventually recognized.

In an Aug. 2 conversation with Carolina Journal, N.C. Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Matthew Hoh said this was his understanding of the NCSBE’s position in numerous statements related to the case. Because of this apparent agreement, Hoh said he expects to be included on the ballot by the end of the week. It is possible, though, if there are any issues raised by any of the parties, they would still need to show up for the Aug. 8 original court date.

Hoh said this is much less likely because, as far as he knows, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s “motion to intervene” filed in order to be added as a co-defendant was not accepted by the judge. So Democrats would not be able to object to the agreement among parties.

But the Democrats are not quite done fighting over the North Carolina Green Party’s presence on the 2022 ballot, announcing on Monday that they will be filing a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court in reaction to the NCSBE’s unanimous vote to approve the Green Party as a recognized party in N.C.

“Given the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ own investigation finding widespread fraud in the North Carolina Green Party petitions and the ongoing criminal investigation, the NCDP is pursuing legal action to ensure North Carolina voters have not been deceived,” said Meredith Cuomo, the NCDP executive director.

The statement went on to say that “The NCSBE’s vote today represents a sharp departure from how the board has treated past fraud cases, most notably in the 2018 election fraud scandal in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, in which the board ordered a completely new election after finding evidence of ballot tampering.”

Hoh said this lawsuit was “garbage.” He said all the claims in the press release were debunked at the Aug. 1 NCSBE meeting, so they were not worried about any lawsuits based on them. He said the press release was “disingenuous and specious, the same sort of frivolous and unsubstantiated allegations that have been hurled at us for the last couple of months.”

On the NCSBE approval, Hoh said that he’s sad that it took two months to be certified, but he was also very grateful for the non-partisanship the Democrat-majority NCSBE, including Chair Damon Circosta, showed on Aug. 1 in finally approving them. He said he was also happy to see them firmly shut down further Democratic Party efforts to gum-up the process during the meeting with complaints against county boards for verifying signatures.

“Their demeanor was very changed from previous month,” he said. “I’m grateful that they did the right thing, because I imagine that Circosta made some people unhappy in the Democratic Party. But he did the right thing by certifying us and did the right thing by throwing out those ridiculous complaints against the county boards, because they had no evidence.”

The judge’s full order is below: