Two Republicans resign from North Carolina election board

(Reuters) – Two Republicans resigned from the North Carolina State Board of Elections late on Wednesday, the panel said, citing concerns about a plan to settle a lawsuit over counting of absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 presidential election, among other issues.

Ken Raymond and David Black stepped down over a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans against the five-member election board, it said in a statement that attached their letters of resignation.

“It is impossible to have true bipartisanship when both sides of the political aisle do not have the important and vital information needed to make the right decisions,” Raymond said in his letter.

Black referred to concerns over the witness requirement for absentee ballots.

“It was not my understanding that the cure would simply mean a affidavit, or cure document, would be sent to the voter for a confirmation that this ballot was their own,” he said.

The election officials had struck a tentative agreement on Tuesday to count any absentee ballots that arrive up to nine days after the Nov. 3 election, so long as they are postmarked by election day.

“The unanimous agreement of the five-member State Board regarding the proposed settlement came after counsel to all board members from agency attorneys and litigation counsel before and during last week’s closed session meeting,” the board said in its statement.

Raymond and Black are both former chairmen of county election boards in North Carolina, where President Donald Trump this month urged residents to try to vote twice in the election, once by mail and once in person.

Trump won North Carolina and its 15 electoral votes by 3.6 percentage points over Clinton in 2016. The Southern state has gone consistently Republican in presidential elections since 1980, with the exception of Obama’s victory there in 2008.

That makes Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s slight lead in recent polls in the state a significant worry for the president.

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