Washington Post reports— and the News & Observer follows up— that N.C. Board of Elections chairman Andy Penry has resigned in the wake of controversial social media posts criticizing President Trump and other prominent Republicans.
Penry’s resignation also comes in the middle of allegations of absentee voting fraud in the 9th Congressional District, where Republican Mark Harris leads by 900 votes. Earlier in the week the board voted not to certify the results of the election pending an investigation into possible absentee ballots irregularities in Bladen County:
“The investigation of criminal conduct and absentee voting fraud in the 2018 Republican primary and 2018 general election in Congressional District 9 is a matter of vital importance to our democracy,” he said in his statement. “The investigation should be free of attempts at distraction and obstruction so that the truth can be revealed. I will not allow myself to be used as an instrument of distraction in this investigation.”
Penry, a Democrat, has come under fire from local and state Republican leaders. They said his critical social media posts about President Donald Trump and other Republicans might suggest the board’s investigation into election fraud is tilted. His Twitter feed no longer is public.
Ford Porter, Gov. Roy Cooper’s spokesperson, confirmed Penry’s resignation Saturday afternoon: “The Governor has accepted Mr. Penry’s resignation and appreciates his service to our state.”
Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the state Republican Party, called on Cooper at a press conference to “now clean this mess up” by immediately appointing a “seasoned, well-respected” replacement that both parties can have confidence in to certify the results of the 9th Congressional District and others in question. He said the person could be appointed on a short-term basis.