Statement by the Brunswick County Democratic Party
Calling Upon the Brunswick County Board of Elections
To Reject the Resolution Regarding
Membership in the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence
The Brunswick County Democratic Party urges the Board of Elections (BOE) to reject a proposal ending its association with private non-profit organizations, including the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence.
The Alliance is a non-partisan collaborative designed by and for local election departments to share best practices and resources that help them run fair, voter-centric elections.
The proposal originated with a resolution passed by the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners, which “strongly encourages the [BOE] to terminate its membership in the Alliance.”
We appreciate that accepting grants and assistance from private non-profit organizations to help administer elections can be a legitimate concern. But the resolution’s proponents have no evidence suggesting Brunswick County’s elections have been anything but fair. The BOE’s outstanding staff is doing everything possible to ensure the integrity of our elections and election processes.
Brunswick County’s elections are — thanks to the BOE’s diligence and hard work — efficient, safe from manipulation, and fair, favoring no party or candidate. But elections in the county are far more than merely acceptable. The BOE’s operations are among the best, not just in our state, but in the nation, as demonstrated by the BOE’s selection last year as one of the country’s 10 “Centers for Election Excellence.” Meanwhile, Sara LaVere, Brunswick County’s director of elections, was just honored by her peers, who chose her to be president of the North Carolina Association of Directors of Elections.
One would think this would be cause for celebration and pride, especially by those who run the county. But the County Commission’s resolution suggests otherwise. It sends a loud and clear message: “We don’t trust our elections staff to make professionally sound decisions, and we will substitute our judgment for theirs.”
Why would anyone want to stop the BOE from using some of the very tools — both funding and guidance —that contribute to its excellence? Apparently, there are baseless allegations that the Alliance distributed money from rich liberal contributors to help Democrats. Such allegations have been proven false by none other than the Federal Election Commission. They were also refuted by the Port City Daily, which stated, “The resolution falsely claims the Center for Tech and Civic Life is funded by Mark Zuckerberg and other tech billionaires.”
Politifact also debunked the allegation, pointing out that “if meddling to benefit Democrats was the goal, then it was a strange strategy to provide the money to every single jurisdiction that applied.”
So, according to the Federal Election Commission, our local media, and Politifact, the County Commission’s resolution is based upon unproven and false premises — a political trope. The reality is the BOE’s standing as a national leader in elections operations would likely be short-lived if such ill-informed and politically motivated fabrications were true.
The root of the problem is underfunding by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature and the very Brunswick County Commissioners who proposed this resolution.
In 2022, the average U.S. county spent about $17 per voter to administer elections. Brunswick County spent less than $10 per voter. In 2021, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed a measure similar to the one approved by the County Commission, saying “The legislature should start properly funding elections boards to ensure accessible, safe, and secure elections every time, which would end the need for grants."
Here’s our bottom line: We don’t want our county’s election staff diminished because of baseless, partisan conspiracy theories advanced by the County Commission. We urge the BOE to reject this damaging proposal.
The BOE’s operation exemplifies excellence. It need not take advice from those who undermine trust in elections and damage the organization they are claiming to protect.
We thank the BOE and its director, Sara LaVere, for their excellent work and for making Brunswick County’s elections an operation worthy of praise and emulation across the nation. Let’s keep them that way!
Note: The BOE meeting will begin at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, in the Commissioners’ Chambers, David Sandifer Administration Building, 30 Government Center Drive NE, Bolivia. Citizens who can’t attend or who do not want to speak at the hearing can still make their views known by using the Board’s public comment portal, by calling the BOE at (910)253-2620, or by sending an email to BOEchair@brunswickcountync.gov.