It’s Time To Revisit Ella Scarborough’s Deciding Vote for the Mecklenburg County Mask Mandate
On September 8, 2021, a voice on Ella Scarborough’s computer called out “yes,” casting the deciding vote in a 5-4 decision to adopt “a Revised Countywide Board of Health Rule requiring face covering when indoors in all businesses, establishments and public places, including schools (public, private and parochial) within Mecklenburg County.” Everyone seems to acknowledge that it wasn’t Ella Scarborough voting during that meeting.
Speaking about an earlier vote from the same session, the Chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, George Dunlap, told WSOC TV at the time, “I am aware that voice vote did not sound the same as other votes previously cast by Commissioner Scarborough. Other commissioners have raised the same concern.” He doubled down with the Charlotte Observer the following Monday, stating that it was obvious that anyone at the meeting “heard a very different voice than what they previously heard from when she did, in fact, vote.”
The county attorney, Tyrone Wade, was asked to look “into whether someone other than Commissioner Ella Scarborough voted on her behalf,” but that investigation was promptly dropped. At the time, local media and her fellow commissioners focused on the inconsequential nature of Scarborough’s vote because “commissioners overwhelmingly approved Diorio’s raise and performance bonus,” but it’s not immediately apparent that Commissioner Scarborough was voting for herself later in the call either.
The waveform on the top is Ella Scarborough voting “yes” for the Eastland Mall redevelopment agreement on August 4, 2021, and the bottom waveform is the voice that voted “yes” on her behalf for the mask mandate.
They don’t look the same, and they don’t sound the same. The second voice has a different cadence and a higher pitch. You can listen for yourself here. The following month, Commissioner Scarborough took a leave of absence, and she has since stepped down.
I don’t blame Ella Scarborough, but her declining health does not give her children, who have consistently refused to answer questions about the assistance they have been providing to their mother, the authority to usurp the will of Mecklenburg County voters and act on her behalf. The county attorney, Tyrone Wade, should step aside for his role in enabling this charade, and new policies should be put in place to ensure that the person casting a vote that could impact the lives of more than a million North Carolinians was actually entrusted with that authority by Mecklenburg County voters.
Residents have a right to know if the mask mandate they are still living under nearly six months later was approved by their county commissioners, or kept in place on the basis of a fraudulent vote.