North Carolina Board of Elections Agrees to Republicans' Rule Change to Allow More Poll Observers 

June 21, 2021
For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - The North Carolina Board of Elections will rewrite its previous rule proposal and remove restrictions placed on poll observers because of overwhelming Republican objection.   

The current statute allows two precinct-specific observers to serve at one time in shifts of at least four hours, before being relieved by two different precinct-specific observers. However, the rule proposed by the Board of Elections would have limited the number of precinct-specific observers to two for the entire day. 

“The State Board of Elections’ proposed rule would have placed a substantial burden on the participation of volunteer observers in the election process, which is key to public confidence in the results of an election,” said NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley.

Republicans fought back at the national, state, and local level to ensure the voting process remains open and transparent, taking the following actions:

  • NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley and the NCGOP Legal Counsel wrote letters to the Board of Elections in protest of the rule change.
  • The RNC sent a letter to the Board of Elections and said the proposed rule would, “eliminate transparency and accountability in our elections.”
  • Attorneys from the RNC and NCGOP delivered remarks at the public hearing. 
  • Republicans in the General Assembly responded with legislation that would allow for greater flexibility in the rotation of poll observers throughout the day. 
  • County GOP Activists sent over 500 public comments to the Board of Elections in opposition of the proposed rule change.

Due to the Republican Party’s efforts, the Board of Elections changed their proposed rule. The new version would allow for the precinct-specific observer list to include up to eight names with designated times for each observer to serve, instead of only two precinct-specific observers for the entire day. 

“We are pleased that the North Carolina Board of Elections took the Republican Party’s concerns seriously and has agreed to amend its proposed rule,” said NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley. “It is critical for the Board of Elections to ensure transparent and certain elections."





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