Without Reason, McCrory Denies SBOE Use of Outside Lawyers for Civitas Case
Civitas is taking the State Board of Elections to court this Friday, challenging same-day registration at early voting sites in bogus attempt to help Pat McCrory. The State Board of Elections requested four lawyers represent them, however, McCrory denied three of the lawyers without explicitly stating any conflicts. The denied lawyers all have experience working with the GOP and the State Board of Elections that McCrory appointed voted on hiring them unanimously. This leads us to wonder what’s McCrory trying to do denying the State Board of Elections these lawyers without any reason?
A federal court hearing in the Civitas case, which challenges how voters who use same-day registration are handled, is scheduled for Friday. While the board has its own lawyers and will have Ziko on hand, the denial hamstrings the state board as it runs up against deadlines to file briefings in the matter.
“The notification we received gives no legal basis for the denial of the Brooks Pierce lawyers,” said state board member Joshua Malcolm, a Democrat.
One possible explanation is that McCrory had concerns that lawyers at the firm could be influenced by Jim Phillips, a partner in the firm’s Greensboro office who is serving as co-chairman of Cooper’s transition team.
“It is my opinion these lawyers don’t have any conflict,” Malcolm said, adding that the full five-member board discussed the potential for conflicts in closed session Sunday. He said the board wanted to hire the four lawyers in question because they all brought different skills to the table. Ziko, who was approved, for example is known as a litigation specialists, while Marshall, who was rejected, is know for his prowess in elections law.
Republicans and the McCrory campaign have peppered the State Board of Elections and local county boards with challenges over the past month. However, the biggest questions standing in the way of finishing the election are the Civitas case and a potential recount in Durham.