RALEIGH – With a dramatic flare, the N.C. Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission announced Tuesday the scheduling of an ‘Emergency Meeting’ to be held Wednesday August 23.
The commission, made up of ultra-liberals N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Attorney General Josh Stein, and Republican Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble, is likely staging a public meeting to react to the recent court decision to block two amendments from appearing on the ballot.
Even though the legislature passed a bill during the recent session to reduce the ballot caption for the amendments referenda to a straightforward ‘Constitutional Amendment,’ the commission still has the responsibility of writing language describing the amendments for distribution to state and county boards of elections and for the public.
As such they still have the opportunity to subtly (or not so subtly) craft language that casts the amendments in a negative light.
Beyond that the public meetings provide a platform for partisan political shots at the legislature. That’s what happened at the last meeting when Stein went after the voter ID amendment with the typical Leftist refrain that it is not necessary, and racist to boot.
In buttressing his argument, though, Stein asserted that voter fraud was actually a much more rampant problem in the absentee ballot space and thereby damaging his own angle that fraud isn’t a big enough problem to warrant photo identification requirements.
We’ll have to wait and see what kind of theatrics happen at this ‘Emergency Meeting’ Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the court order that blocked the inclusion of two of the amendments as written from the ballot is leading some to wonder if the legislature will come back into session once more to address the court’s concerns.
The language of those two amendment questions were deemed misleading by the judicial panel, so technically lawmakers could rewrite and still have them posed to voters on the November ballot.
Cooper’s attorneys in lawsuit took issue with misleading ballot language (but not the decision to put proposals before voters). Court ruling offered #ncga the option to rewrite ballot questions, so it’s a question of whether they do that or appeal #ncpol https://t.co/oA6JAbpYif
— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) August 22, 2018
Cooper says such a move would be ‘reckless,’ but why? If the court’s concerns with the language were addressed it would cease being an issue of legality. The only one with problems with the two amendments inclusion would be the governor and those that believe he should retain the powers of appointment for judicial vacancies and myriad boards and commissions. That’s why the voters should have a say, and opponents are free and encouraged to make their case to them before election day, but Cooper doesn’t even want to give them a chance to decide for themselves.
If the legislature does come back to address the amendment language, it wouldn’t leave much time to mount another legal challenge before ballots would require printing. That is likely what Cooper has issue with. To him, it is unfair if he can’t sue to stop the people from voting on amendments, even if those amendments have clear language.