#nc-09: Calls for Josh Malcolm to recuse himself from Bladen-Robeson probes GROW

We got the ball rolling.  NC State Board of Elections chairman Joshua Malcolm is too closely tied to the political machine suspected of being behind sketchy, possibly-illegal election activities in Robeson County.  It’s pretty clear Roy Cooper elevated him to chairman to protect the Democrat interests in Robeson County while focusing on alleged Republican activity in Bladen County. 

As a member of the Robeson County board of elections, Malcolm led efforts to stymie probes into alleged voting irregularities — typically aimed at the county’s Democrat machine.  He is the last person you would pick to oversee a fair, above-board state probe into the electoral doings in  that county.  The ol’ fox guarding the hen house.  

The NC Values Coalition is leading a state-level effort to block Malcolm from the pending Bladen and Robeson probes:


  • Over the last decade Joshua Malcolm served six years in leadership on the Robeson County Board of Elections, a county at the epicenter of the alleged fraud, and for the last five years on the State Elections Board. Malcolm has insisted that he is “very familiar with unfortunate activities that have been happening down in my part of the state.” Malcolm also has insisted that he knew there were absentee voting problems in these counties for years. As a member of both county and state Election Boards, he had numerous opportunities to shine light on these irregularities and even hold up certification of past elections to investigate these known “unfortunate activities” but he failed to do so while serving on election boards in this region for over a decade.
  • In 2016, in an effort to meet canvass deadlines, Malcolm made a motion to dismiss election fraud allegations related to absentee ballots and certify the election in question, yet in 2018, he made the motion not to certify the election of Mark Harris based on the similar alleged absentee ballot irregularities. According to Board minutes, the State Board of Elections never actually inspected all the absentee ballots in question from Bladen County in 2016. They simply dismissed the allegations and referred the case to the U.S. Attorney, because there were not enough votes to overturn the election. In 2016, the election in question was for Governor Cooper. This year, it is the election of Republican Mark Harris. This inconsistency is unexplained.
  • In 2016, in response to election complaints concerning Governor Cooper’s election, Malcolm said, “It would be a mistake for this board to take up protests. (Counties) need to make fact-finding decisions.” Yet, in the current election year with regard to certifying the win of Mark Harris in District 09, Malcolm overturned the County’s certification of the race, inconsistency that can only be attributed to partisan motives.
  • Last week WBTV identified a local businessman and political action committee, funded by the North Carolina Democratic Party, as two additional coordinated efforts targeting absentee ballots, but to our knowledge the State Board has not issued any subpoenas to further investigate these other two groups. Malcolm’s failure to investigate seems politically motivated.
  • Malcolm, a resident of Robeson County, has publicly stated he is “personally offended” about matters coming to the Board of Elections from Robeson and Bladen counties. This signals that he won’t be objective and fair. For example, he was fully aware of absentee ballot irregularities in the 9th, but the State Board had no hesitation to certify a Mecklenburg County House race where over 20% of the 9th Congressional District’s absentee ballots were cast. The overlapping State House race was won by the Democrat by only 68 votes, yet no review was initiated by the Board.
  • In September 2018 it was Malcolm who led efforts on behalf of the Board to immediately rescind U.S. Department of Justice subpoenas investigating voter fraud in Bladen and other eastern North Carolina counties. Malcolm surely “turned a blind eye” to voter fraud allegations then.
  • In March 2018, Malcolm made the motion to remove Wayne King, Congressman Mark Meadows’ District Director, from the Cleveland County Board of Elections in what is called a “partisan move.” In the statewide appointments, Malcolm was the only Board Member to raise an objection to any of the 400 appointments.

As highlighted by The Charlotte Observer, it was Mr. Malcolm’s score-settling that started this investigation into the 9th with an unacceptable lack of transparency.

“Chairman Malcolm is guilty of mismanagement of the election process, since he is the only continuing member of the Board from 2016 to present. Chairman Malcolm, while making a motion to not certify the election results in the 9th Congressional District, failed to hold up certification and personally signed the election certificates of all other elections on the same ballot that would have been impacted by any absentee voting and election irregularities. This can only mean that Chairman Malcolm is prejudiced against the winner of that election, Mark Harris. While the board must see this investigation to the end and refer any alleged illegal actions to proper authorities, Chairman Malcolm should recuse himself” according to Tami Fitzgerald of NC Values Coalition.