March 8, 2021
For Immediate Release
Raleigh, NC - WRAL’s PolitiFact NC confirmed that the North Carolina State Board of Elections Executive Director lied about trying to change state law when she spoke at the North Carolina House Elections committee.
“After lying to a federal court, Brinson Bell lied to the General Assembly. The continued lying by Director Bell will only serve to undermine confidence in North Carolina’s elections, that is the exact opposite of what North Carolina needs," said NCGOP Communications Director Tim Wigginton.
Here are some key excerpts from the Politifact NC Fact Check.
“We’re here to review whether there were effective changes in the law.”
“Someone who heard Bell’s comments may get the impression the elections board followed absentee ballot rules set by state lawmakers. That’s not the case. In a legal settlement, the state elections board enacted changes to absentee ballot rules that had been set in general statutes.”
“After the lawsuit was settled, however, voters would have different rules for the 2020 election.”
“Absentee ballots would be accepted up to nine days after Election Day, rather than three.”
“Absentee ballots would still require a witness signature. However, voters who mailed an absentee ballot without the signature could rectify the situation by mailing an affidavit, signed only by themselves, to support the ballot’s veracity.”
“When considering changes for the 2020 election, the Republican legislative majority made it clear the witness requirement was important. Legislators also specifically rejected a proposal to further lengthen the absentee ballot arrival deadline during negotiations on the bill.”
“So, while the legal settlement didn’t amend North Carolina’s laws for the long term, the voting rules effectively deviated from specific laws.”
“‘Whether the BOE was authorized to make the changes, whether the changes were made for good reason, and whether the changes were temporary or permanent does not negate the fact that changes were made,’ Greg Wallace, a constitutional law professor at Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, told PolitiFact. ‘An authorized, reasonable, and temporary change is still a change.’”
“In an Oct. 14 order, U.S. District Judge William Osteen said he believed the board’s changes could result in unequal treatment of voters. However, he said legal precedent restricts court intervention in cases with fast-approaching elections. North Carolina began issuing absentee ballots to voters on Sept. 4.”
“Bell said the North Carolina elections board ‘did not change state law’ as it pertained to the 2020 election.”
“The board says it was within its legal powers to strike a deal implementing absentee ballot rules that deviated from specific laws set in general statutes. Regardless of who has the power, the election rules were effectively changed, and the board played a major role.”
“Bell’s statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.”