I’m writing this piece to express my concerns about the current state of affairs regarding the Brunswick County Board of Elections. I’m an unaffiliated voter in Brunswick County, and until now have had no concerns about election integrity in our county.
The stated mission of the Board of Elections is “to maintain the integrity of elections, ensure election results are accurate, and include as many residents as possible by encouraging voter registration and making it easy for registered voters to cast a ballot for the candidates and issues of their choice.”. Despite record numbers showing that the level of trust in our election officials nation wide has never been this low, I remained unconcerned about our local officials until yesterdays Brunswick County Board of Elections meeting, and their vote to continue to have a relationship with The US Alliance for Election Excellence which is part of Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL). Our elections board officials have shown integrity and fairness in the face of distrust growing in regards to elections, in both parties. In a quick search of the Alliance the trail leads to Mark Zuckerburg, ie “Zuckerbucks”, and others who have been accused with “interfering with past elections”. Whether this claim has been “proven” or not, is not important. Perception is reality!
Now we learn that recently, our board chose to “partner” with this agency, who’s background, and clear money trail, leads to partisan influence. Just the fact that our elections board officials would choose to even allow this into our county is despicable. Justification for this “partnership” was to gain training for best practices and learn from other election officials. Our county has shown leadership and integrity in elections, and should be leading the charge to teach other counties this practice. I am in no way against continuing education and additional training for anyone, but I think one thing the pandemic showed us all is that training can be effectively done via zoom, and there is no need for travel and related expenses incurred for this. To the constituents of this area this appears as a subsidized boondoggle that isn’t necessary for our officials! We all know that nothing is given for free and can only speculate what “gain” the Alliance could be looking for? One of the lessons I have learned in life is Follow the Money. No one is ever given money without something being given in return.
After concerns were raised about the reasons for this affiliation, and need for “subsidized” training, and “outside money” in our county, our board of elections chose to vote in favor of continuing this relationship! Never have I seen a consultant come to the company offering to pay them to take their services. That’s not the way the real world works.
If they had chosen to remove themselves from this recent partnership, no one could then even insinuate corruption from this tainted relationship. All further whispers of corruption going forward could have been immediately shot down! By voting to continue this tainted partnership, they have now opened the door wide to voices of concern and corruption with every election going forward. What a foolish move this was to gain what, a “subsidized” trip for training and the appearance of interference. As an Unaffiliated voter I see this as the board choosing to inflame distrust between parties rather than using a clear, nonpartisan thinking to squash this friction. Shame on the board of elections. Shame.