It’s hard to think of a public board in this town that hasn’t given the public fits at some point over the years. The Board of Elections has always been an exception. Until now.
The Richmond County Board of Elections closed its meeting to the public Thursday due to a completely vague and wholly unexplained threat of legal action over when it schedules local elections next year.
We understand the likelihood of lawsuits. The city charter calls for local elections in November, state law moved them to July, the U.S. Department of Justice objected to the move – and, ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated the department’s ability to object.
But closed meetings aren’t permitted without a concrete threat. And if the mere possibility of a lawsuit is able to drive our leaders into secret meetings, heaven help us. Do the public’s business in public whenever possible. Err on the side of openness.
We know the board members. They’re friends and neighbors. But this time, they let us down.