Charlotte Observer editorial:
Kim Strach, the executive director of the state Board of Elections, was doing a good job before she got fired Monday. She’d helped guide the board through the minefield of the 9th Congressional District election fraud scandal. She’d offered strong suggestions to lawmakers about preventing future fraud, and some of those recommendations became part of a truly bi-partisan N.C. House bill.
So why did Strach get shown the door? It’s because she is a Republican and the Board of Elections is majority Democrat. It’s legal. It’s happened before. And it’s wrong…
Instead, Democrats on Monday launched an ugly attempt at character assassination, with N.C. Democratic Party chair Wayne Goodwin accusing Strach of protecting Republicans both as an investigator and chair. The reality is that Strach and the board under her have vigorously pursued both Democrats and Republicans, most recently when she resisted Republican calls to leave Mark Harris alone in the 9th District. Even Cordle, the Democratic board chair, said Monday that Strach had done an excellent job for the state.
Among Strach’s other offenses, according to Goodwin? She is married to Phil Strach, an attorney who regularly represents the Republican-led legislature in court cases, some of which involved election law issues. It was an absurd and sad public moment for Goodwin, a long-time state servant, and it speaks to precisely why Strach’s firing was wrong. For years, N.C. Republicans have tried to use legislation involving voting and elections — including the composition of elections boards — to hold and tighten their grip on power. For years, Democrats have decried such tainting of elections with politics. Strach, meanwhile, has done her job the way any party should want it done. That includes with the 9th District scandal, which was a jarring reminder that elections boards from the county level to Raleigh should be free from politics, and that North Carolinians should have the confidence that the people who rule on election disputes do so without partisan considerations.