We believe in the integrity of election workers

Published November 19, 2020

By Senators Mike Woodard and Michael Garrett

Republicans are casting a dark shadow over the hard work of thousands of dedicated North Carolinians regarding the recent election.

 Sens. Warren Daniel, Paul Newton, and Ralph Hise wrote in a recent op-ed, “the suspicion of the electoral process harbored by the regular person on the street is palpable – and deeply unhealthy.”

Let us set the record straight: North Carolina held a successful and professional presidential election in the wake of nearly insurmountable odds, including a public health crisis (COVID-19), preemptive attacks from President Donald Trump on the integrity of the electoral process, and attempts by the president’s appointee, Louis DeJoy, to sabotage the US Postal Service. 

In the face of all of this, but especially the effort to sabotage the mail, the State Board of Elections made the reasonable accommodation to let mail-in ballots postmarked on Election Day have more time to arrive and be counted. The decision to make sure every vote is counted was exceptional and got unanimous bipartisan support, with the two Republicans on the board supporting the decision. 

The attacks from Republicans about the lengthy election process is little more than manufactured controversy designed to sow distrust in the system. 

The comments from our Republican colleagues are, in their words, deeply unhealthy. They are false and these Republican senators know better.

As much as we are alarmed by what is being said by Republicans, what is even more alarming is what they haven’t said.

Thank you to the 500 members of the local boards of elections.

Thank you to the thousands of election volunteers and workers who risked their health and safety to make this election cycle go remarkably smoothly.

Thank you to the postal workers who tried to keep doing their jobs and deliver ballots in spite of President Trump’s Postmaster General’s efforts to sabotage the mail.

We appreciate what you did in this turbulent election year. 

 All of you took on these jobs under immense public scrutiny, even threats of violence. 

These kinds of direct attacks should be beneath the Republican Party. But they are the new normal. 

Retaliation is par for the course for Republicans, who attempted a coup of the State Board of Elections following the 2016 elections. They later cut hundreds of employees from the Governor’s and Attorney General’s offices. 

Sen. Phil Berger said in a statement on election night, “I hope over the next two years we see a departure from the divisive partisan lawsuits that have hamstrung attempts at good faith negotiations between Republicans and Democrats.”

We’d like to work in good faith with Republicans. But when you start off with baseless attacks on local officials, election workers, and volunteers, it does not foster goodwill. 

 Exploiting unfounded paranoia does not foster cooperation.

The solution is not to attack the integrity of dedicated volunteers and workers who follow the letter of the law to complete the election process. The solution is to respect the process, the circumstances, and the outcome — regardless of whether it is in your favor.