The State Board of Elections on Friday reappointed Karen Brinson Bell to a two-year term as the Board’s executive director. Brinson Bell has served as executive director since June 1, 2019.
Brinson Bell said she would remain focused on the uniform administration of elections across North Carolina, while continuing efforts to improve election security and bolster voter confidence.
“It is not lost on me what a privilege and responsibility it is to ensure all North Carolinians are able to exercise their right to vote,” Brinson Bell said. “I will continue to work with State Board staff and the 100 county boards of elections to conduct secure, accessible, and fair elections for all eligible voters.”
State statute requires the State Board to appoint an executive director every two years. Brinson Bell’s new term will end May 15, 2023.
As North Carolina’s chief elections official, Brinson Bell leads the state agency, which is charged with administering elections and campaign finance compliance, overseeing the 100 county boards of elections, and ensuring accessible and secure voting for more than 7 million registered voters.
Brinson Bell has spent most of her professional career in elections administration. From April 2016 to May 2019, Brinson Bell was a national consultant for ranked choice voting, in which voters rank candidates in order of preference. In that role, she assisted elections administrators on a national level, providing expert testimony and educational tools for conducting elections using that method.
From March 2011 to March 2015, she served as director for the Transylvania County Board of Elections in Brevard, N.C. Prior to that, she worked for five years as a district elections technician for the State Board of Elections, where she supported 12 county boards in western North Carolina in almost all facets of elections.
Kellie Harris Hopkins, the Beaufort County elections director and past president of the North Carolina Association of Directors of Elections (NCADE), said Brinson Bell is a “fierce advocate for county boards of elections.”
“I have especially appreciated her efforts in keeping a direct line of communication open with counties and providing us with the most up-to-date information as soon as she was able, even on late nights and weekends,” Hopkins said. “Counties believe that when we need her, she is there. And, if she doesn’t have the answer, that she will work tirelessly to help us find it.”
County Board Appointments
In other business, the State Board appointed Democrat James Edward Lee to the Bertie County Board of Elections, Democrat Paula Clarity to the Brunswick County Board of Elections, Democrat Larry James Cooper to the Duplin County Board of Elections, Democrat Elizabeth Torres Evans to the Granville County Board of Elections, Republican Angela Marie Plackis to the Rutherford County Board of Elections, and Republican Larry Eugene Barger Jr. to the Stokes County Board of Elections. These appointments fill vacancies on those county boards. The State Board will appoint new members to all 100 county boards at its meeting on June 29, 2021.