NC elections board released closed meeting minutes, memos after vote scrutiny

NC elections board released closed meeting minutes, memos after vote scrutiny
NCSBE Secretary Stella Patterson and board member David Black attend a meeting of the board in-person on August 1, 2019. (Source: Nick Ochsner)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Carolina State Board of Elections has released meeting minutes and a legal memo related to a vote it took in closed session last week.

The NCSBE held an emergency meeting Friday morning and voted to waive its attorney-client privilege protecting discussions with and advice from its attorneys.

By voting to waive the privilege, the board paved the way for the closed session meeting minutes and legal memorandum to be released.

Friday’s vote came after scrutiny from WBTV and other media outlets regarding the board’s vote to reach settlement agreements in a series of lawsuits brought by a Democratic-aligned group regarding the state’s handling of absentee ballots. Open government experts said the vote may have violated state law and, at best, was poor government.

The settlement, which has not yet been approved by a judge, would alter some regulations regarding absentee ballots, many of which were implemented after the 9th Congressional District scandal in 2018 involving absentee ballots.

All five members of the NCSBE voted to allow the board’s executive director to enter into a settlement within the parameters of three criteria.

After the settlement agreement was announced, the board’s two Republican members resigned, saying they had been misled by the board’s staff and attorneys.

The board’s chairman, Damon Circosta, pushed back on that notion Friday.

Voters deserve to have full confidence in their election process," Circosta said. “To ensure that voters have that confidence, they deserve all of the facts when the impartiality of their election administration and security are questioned in the public sphere.”

“Earlier this week, two members of our board resigned their seats claiming they were misled and did not have full access to information before they took an important vote. This is simply not true.”

Click here to read the closed session minutes.

Click here to read the legal memorandum from the NCSBE attorney.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.