Senators Call in Board of Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell for Questions

North Carolina General Assembly

Senator Warren Daniel


Contacts: [email protected]
March 22, 2021

Senators Call in Board of Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell for Questions

Federal judge called the State Board’s behavior under Brinson Bell's leadership "a flagrant misuse of this court’s injunctive relief"
Judge said the Board's actions under Brinson Bell "appear to ignore the rule of law"
Raleigh, N.C. – The co-chairs of the Senate Elections Committee have called N.C. State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell before their committee to answer questions about her conduct last year. Ms. Brinson Bell will appear before the committee tomorrow, March 23, at 1 p.m.
Multiple federal judges excoriated the Board of Elections under Brinson Bell's leadership after she secretly negotiated with national Democratic Party "super-lawyer" Marc Elias, who was recently sanctioned for ethics violations by a Texas federal court, to change election laws after voting had already begun.
Read a timeline of what happened here.
Here are some excerpts from for the opinions authored by multiple federal judges:
  • "For the second time in this case, this court has serious concerns about the conduct of the North Carolina State Board of Elections."
  • The State Board’s behavior was "a flagrant misuse of this court’s injunctive relief" and the Board's actions "appear to ignore the rule of law."
  • "In all candor, this court cannot conceive of a more problematic conflict with the provisions [the law] than the procedures implemented by the [Board of Elections’] Revised 2020–19 memo and the Consent Order."
  • "At bottom, the [Board of Elections] has ignored the statutory scheme and arbitrarily created multiple, disparate regimes under which North Carolina voters cast absentee ballots."
  • "When, as here, the plain wording of those [legislative] enactments is transgressed, the entire body politic pays a grievous price."
  • "…to witness our democratic dissolution in this manner is heart-rending for the many good Americans of all persuasions who still view partisan advantage as subordinate to their country’s lasting welfare."
  • "It takes no special genius to know what this insidious formula is producing. Our country is now plagued by a proliferation of pre-election litigation that creates confusion and turmoil and that threatens to undermine public confidence in the federal courts, state agencies, and the elections themselves."
  • "Then along come the disruptive efforts of [ ] a state election board to upend the set rules right in the middle of an election. The disruptors then hail their action as the new status quo, which is (the irony of this is rich) claimed to be beyond any power of disturbance."
The Board has offered multiple explanations for its extralegal conduct. For example, the Board (falsely) said that the secretive settlement agreement was in response to an order from federal Judge William Osteen. When Judge Osteen learned of that, he called the Board's actions "an unacceptable misuse" of his court.
The Board has also claimed that the U.S. Supreme Court "upheld" its secretive settlement deal, but that's false, too. Days before the election, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an emergency appeal on the case; they didn't "uphold" it on the merits.
WHAT: Senate Elections Committee Questioning of Karen Brinson Bell
WHERE: Legislative Building Auditorium (Third Floor)
WHO: Senate Elections Committee; Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell
WHEN: Tuesday, March 23 at 1 p.m.
Audio and video streams of the hearing will be available on the General Assembly’s website.