Six new amendments to North Carolina’s constitution will be on the popular ballot this November. These amendments propose a requirement for a voter ID when voting, a lowering of the income tax cap, a limiting of the power of the governor in appointing judges, transfer of power to allow the legislature to choose members of an election board, the addition of rights for victims of crimes and the protection of hunting and fishing.
Republicans who voted to put the amendments on the ballot in the general assembly say that these amendments are necessary for promoting positive change in North Carolina. However, Democrats argue that they are unnecessary and worded in a deceptive way.
Governor Roy Cooper launched a lawsuit in August where judges ruled that two of the six amendments were worded in ways that were misleading. Although the North Carolina legislature had to rewrite the text on the ballot, Cooper still says that the new versions are not an improvement.
“The new versions are still neither fair nor accurate,” Cooper’s attorneys wrote in a petition. “They are still misleading. They are still incomplete. And they still fail to inform voters of their primary purpose and effect.”
After the rewrite, five former North Carolina governors, including former Republican Governor Pat McCrory, and came together and denounced two of the six constitutional amendments, which, if passed, will limit the governor’s ability to appoint judges and transfer power to appoint members to the state board of elections from the executive branch to the legislature. However, Republicans currently in the state legislature say that this transfer of power away from the governor will increase North Carolina residents’ ability to influence state government.
“While it’s not surprising former governors oppose checks and balances on the unilateral authority of their office, we are confident the people will support a more accountable approach to filling judicial vacancies and approve a bipartisan balance on critical boards like the state’s ethics and elections commission over a system of purely political control,” said Republican House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger in a statement.
This debate comes after a separate legal battle launched against the constitutional amendments by the NAACP, who sued due to the inclusion of the voter ID amendment.
Voter ID restrictions have “been proven with surgical precision to suppress the votes of African Americans and minorities,” said Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the North Carolina NAACP. “We will continue to challenge as we are able.”
However, Joseph Kyzer, a spokesman for Republican Time Moore, the house speaker, says that the lawsuit is “frivolous.”
“The NAACP is advancing a completely spurious argument already rejected by the courts simply to score points against overwhelmingly popular amendments,” he said.
Kyzer, like most other Republicans who work with state legislature, advocates for voting yes on all six amendments to the state constitution. However, whether or not these measures pass will be left up to the voters this November.
By Hannah Fagan, Staff Writer