The meeting follows an announcement on Monday from Gov. Roy Cooper making his nominations to the state board. The NCSBE is the state agency that administers elections in North Carolina, working with 100 county boards. The state board also oversees campaign finance disclosure and compliance.
On Cooper’s list, just two members were reappointed, with three new members taking a seat. Two of the three were nominated by the N.C. Democratic Party and one new member was nominated by the state Republican Party. The two members carrying over from the previous state board are Stacy Clyde “Four” Eggers IV and T. Jefferson Carmon III. Departing board members are chairman Damon Circosta, a Democrat and executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, Republican Tommy Tucker, and Democrat Stella Anderson.
New to the NCSBE and nominated by the NC Republican Party, Kevin Neil Lewis is a Rocky Mount attorney with Valentine Law Firm, who has served on the Nash County Board of Elections since 2007. He chaired the Nash board from 2013-2019.
Joining the State Board of Elections for Democrats is Alan S. Hirsch of Chapel Hill, the CEO of Biorg, president of the North Carolina Healthcare Quality Alliance, former N.C. deputy attorney general and policy adviser under former Gov. Mike Easley, and former chair of Cooper’s DHHS transition team. Lawyer Siobhan Millen, of Raleigh, was also nominated by Cooper and N.C. Democrats. She is a Democrat get-out-the-vote activist who filed an action in a lawsuit against the Wake County Board of Elections opposing purging of voter rolls. She’s led voter registration drives, starting with the Obama campaigns, and now the League of Women Voters of Wake County, and works with groups that register voters detained in Wake County jails and at naturalization ceremonies.
Carmon, of Raleigh, has served on the Board since 2019. Carmon is counsel and associate director of legal and compliance at Mycovia Pharmaceuticals Inc. He was nominated by the NCDP.
Eggers, of Boone, was nominated by the NCGOP and has served on the state board since 2020. Eggers is managing partner of Eggers Law Firm.
Under a state law passed in 2018, the governor has appointment power to the NCSBE, but takes nominations from the Republican and Democratic state parties. No more than three members can be from the same party.
As the new board is seated, Cooper is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit from unaffiliated voters who want the right to serve on the NCSBE. Cooper, a Democrat, filed a motion to dismiss the case roughly two months after Republican legislative leaders made the same request. The left-of-center activist group Common Cause is working with five individual unaffiliated voters to challenge the state law dealing with elections board appointments.
2024 General Election
In the November 2024 elections there will be a presidential, a gubernatorial, and Council of State races on the ballot, along with the state legislature. The stakes are high as Democrats look to regain political ground lost in the 2022 midterms. The State Board has also been in the spotlight as fears over election integrity spill from headlines and social media posts into public policy.
Recently passing a House committee, HB 304 Election Day Integrity Act, would revise the deadline for absentee ballots to be received by local boards of elections from three days after the election to the close of polls on Election Day itself. The change would return N.C. law to where it stood in 2009 and match 32 other states with the same deadline of Election Day. An exception is made for military or overseas voters. The bill is currently in the House Rules Committee.
The new NCSBE board will also implement recent decisions from the N.C. Supreme Court Three opinions out on April 28 impact elections in North Carolina. Among them, the high court reversed a superior court ruling on in Community Success Initiative v. Moore that restored the law requiring felons to complete their full sentence, including any probation or restitution, before their voting rights are reinstated. The state board recently announced policy to comply with that decision.
The N.C. Supreme Court also reversed a decision from the previous Democrat-majority bench that ruled the state’s electoral maps were “extreme gerrymanders.” The ruling means that the N.C. General Assembly will redraw state House, Senate and Congressional maps, likely in a special session this fall.
The third major decision from the high court reversed an earlier decision that requiring a photo I.D. to vote was discriminatory. The court said the decision had legal flaws. However, another case against Voter I.D., NAACP v Moore. could end up back in front of the court sometime before November 2024.
The NCSBE announced that voter ID will be in effect for 2023 municipal elections this fall.