AP NEWS

Local election officials warned over partisan posts

December 24, 2019 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The State Board of Elections has admonished a county elections board in the latest example of improper social media posts by local elections officials.

The state board voted 4-1 to reject a pair of complaints filed by local Republican Party leader Jane Pait against two members of the Bladen County Board of Elections, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. Pait accused the county board members of posting statements on Facebook that disparaged President Donald Trump.

One of the posts in question involved an image of Trump’s face superimposed on the head of a lion with the caption “The Lyin’ King.”

County elections board members are prohibited from publicly endorsing or opposing candidates for election, but there’s been some dispute about whether criticism of an elected leader fits that legal definition. Board members also questioned whether the Facebook posts Pait presented were authentic and made after the officials joined the elections board.

“We have spent a disproportionate time on social media posts,” chairman Damon Circosta said. “It absolutely has to stop. ... Stop posting on social media, look back at your own social media.”

Board member David Black agreed with Circosta.

“It’s important that you not seem to be biased in any way when you’re talking to the public,” Black said. “Get off Facebook, delete your Twitter account. ... It’s just not worth the effort to try to make those types of posts.”