Fallout continues from the North Carolina State Election Board’s (NCSBE) decision, or lack thereof, to keep the Justice For All Party and the We The People Party off the general election ballot in November for the foreseeable future.

While the board unanimously voted on Tuesday to allow the Constitution Party to appear on the ballot, they “kicked the can down the road” on an answer for the others.

The We the People Party is working to place Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the ballot this November, and the Justice For All Party aims to secure ballot access for Cornel West.

Democratic Board chair Alan Hirsch said the board did not receive all of the information necessary to decide Tuesday on the two parties and suggested the board hold a meeting at a time to be announced.

He said that based on questions raised at the last meeting, staff attempted to contact signers of the petitions who signed affidavits that were submitted to the board asking that their names be removed from the petition. They also attempted to ask what the petition gatherers informed the signers about the purpose and intent of the party. Additionally, the chair authorized subpoenas to nine different party organizations that were involved in the campaign, the petition gathering for the two political parties, the presidential candidates associated with the political parties, and some contract or outside entities that were gathering signatures either under contract with the party or not.

Hirsch said they only received three or four responses before Tuesday’s deadline.

The Justice For All Party of North Carolina Chair, Italo Medelius, issued a statement via X on Tuesday, saying that the subpoena he received was illegal, noting that he was only given six days to respond and was threatened with time in the county prison.

He points out that the board has relied on the false assertions of Clear Choice Action and Mark Elias and that his compliance with the investigation has been treated with contempt and an unwarranted presumption of dishonesty. Medelius said it’s clear evidence that the investigation is political rather than an inquiry in the name of justice.

Before the meeting started, leaders of six different third parties in North Carolina, including the Justice For All Party, sent a letter to board members urging them to reverse an “egregiously anti-representative decision” they made to not grant ballot access to three different third parties at the end of June. 

But it was to no avail. Hirsch said they haven’t been able to review material that came in with the subpoenas, and there were too many moving pieces to set a date for the next meeting, but they will do so after they get more results. He also noted that one of the petition gatherers is the subject of a criminal investigation.

questions raised about validity of signatures

As previously reported by Carolina Journal, the NCSBE has raised questions about the validity of certain signature sets.

One of the allegedly fraudulent signatures added to the Justice For All Party petition was that of Holly Springs resident Greg Sinders.

In a phone interview on Friday, he told Carolina Journal he has never spoken with anyone from the party and that someone fraudulently signed his name on their petition but paired an Indiana address with it.

“It just makes me wonder how many other signatures are on there and how many weren’t caught,” Sinders, a registered Republican, told CJ. “It was a Republican employee of the State Board of Elections that caught it, so there’s no favoritism.”

Sinders understands the politics behind challenging the NCSBE’s decision, Sinders said careful scrutiny is still needed when checking such information.

West agreed in a statement on June 27 that there may be some legitimate concern over a few signatures, but said in doesn’t mean the whole petition should be null and void.

“While there are legitimate inquiries regarding a small number of signatures and an independent circulator, for which JFA has cooperated fully with the Board’s investigation, there is no evidence to suggest that such issues are extensive enough to deem the entire petition effort invalid,” he said. “Nonetheless, the Democrats on the Board have prolonged the investigation under the guise of legality. This unwarranted scrutiny comes after a sufficient three-week review period, suggesting a deliberate stalling tactic rather than any genuine need for further validation.”

Republican NCSBE board members Stacey “Four” Eggers and Kevin Lewis concurred with West at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I still think that we generally do not second guess voters on their decisions and should not do so in this case,” Eggers said. “Plus, the understanding from staff is that both of these parties are still well above the necessary signature thresholds set by statute is that correct?”  No response was recorded.

“We’re going to go ahead and approve the Constitution Party but only gonna have updates on the other two, and we’re talking about nine or ten that didn’t remember or 12 when the number of signatures is well above the statutory requirement,” Lewis added. “It’s not making a lot of sense to me. I think you’re bringing a lot of bad publicity on the board. Your motives are starting to be questioned.”

Also in agreement was North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Jason Simmons, who sent a letter to NCSBE before Tuesday’s meeting.

“It is apparent this board has not learned lessons from 2022 when national and state Democrats sought to keep the Green Party off the ballot over fear their presence would harm their candidate in the U.S. Senate contest,” he said “This board is quickly following that same path. It will end with similar results.”

Simmons said state statutes are clear: “Upon meeting the required number of verified voter signatures, this board is to certify their application… all three parties have clearly met the statutorily required signature threshold to be recognized under N.C.G.S. § 163-96.”

Libertarian Party calls for resignations

After Tuesday’s NCSBE board meeting, the Libertarian Party of North Carolina called for the immediate resignations of Democratic members Hirsch, Siobhan O’Duffy Millen, and Jeff Carmon “for their clear loyalty to partisan ploys to help their candidate over loyalty to the people of North Carolina.”

In a press release, LPNC said both the We the People Party and the Justice for All Party obtained far more signatures than the Constitution Party, which received approval and recognition.

“The three Democrats on the Board continue to stonewall efforts by the Justice for All Party and the We the People Party to gain ballot access, second-guessing the intentions of voters in doing so,” the release continued. Their arguments to prolong the process are spurious and meandering, at best, and the excessive and undue influence of outside law firms and superPACs is both apparent and obviously irredeemable.” 

House committee to review NCSBE decisions

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, was also unhappy with the NCSBE’s inaction on the two parties.

“Democratic partisans on the State Board of Elections have ignored clear state law and refused to certify third parties that pose a threat to Joe Biden in November,” Moore said in a press release. “This is election interference at its worst, and I anticipate the House Oversight and Reform Committee will examine the board’s decisions at their July 23 hearing.”

As Moore mentioned, the NC House Oversight and Reform Committee has called for a hearing with Hirsch, Karen Brinson Bell, NCSBE executive director. Andy Jackson, director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity at the John Locke Foundation, has also been called to appear at the July 23 hearing.

NCSBE was also requested to send documents and information by July 8 according to a letter cosigned by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil, R-Wisconsin.