An independent politician is suing for equal access to North Carolina’s Board of Elections. A recent post on Ballot Access News titled “North Carolina Independent Voter Files Lawsuit Against Law that Bars Him from Serving on Board of Elections” had the scoop:
North Carolina law does not permit anyone to serve on the State Board of Elections, or a county board, unless that voter is a registered member of one of the two largest parties in the state. On June 7, Michael Crowell, an independent voter and an attorney, sued on his own behalf to overturn that law. Crowell v North Carolina, m.d., 1:17cv-515. Here is the Complaint. Thanks to Brian Irving for the news.
The state rules mean “North Carolina has a semi-open primary. Unaffiliated voters may cast their vote in any one recognized party’s primary but registered party members can only vote their party’s ballot.” according to Vote Smart. And according to information from Democracy North Carolina:
If you registered as an Unaffiliated voter and want to vote in the Primary, you can ask for a Republican, Democratic, Libertarian or Nonpartisan ballot. Your choice does not change your Unaffiliated status or obligate you to vote for a party’s candidates in the General Election. However, if there is a Primary Runoff, you can only participate in the Runoff of the same party that you selected in the original Primary.
Michael Crowell is asking the court for the following orders:
- Declare unconstitutional and void, in violation of the Fourteenth and First Amendments, the provisions of North Carolina General Statutes §§ 163A-2 and 163-30 and related statutes that restrict appointments to the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement and county boards of elections to voters registered as Democrats or Republicans or that limit appointments to voters recommended by those political parties.
- Enjoin defendants from enforcing those statutes, and specifically enjoin defendants Cooper and the State Board and its members, respectively, from appointing only Democrats and Republicans to the State Board and the county boards of election.
- Order defendants Cooper and the State Board and its members, respectively, to consider and appoint unaffiliated voters to the State Board and to the 100 county boards of election in proportion to their percentage of all registered voters in the state.
- Award plaintiff his costs, expenses and reasonable attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and other applicable law.
- Grant such other and further relief as may be appropriate.