Excerpt By: News & Observer. Written By: Collin Campbell.
he N.C. Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned a lower court’s block on the legislature’s election law changes, allowing the law to take effect until there’s further action in Gov. Roy Cooper’s lawsuit challenging the changes.
Cooper has sued to block a law – approved by the legislature in a December special session following his election – that would replace the current State Board of Elections, which has a majority of members from the governor’s political party, with a new State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, combining the elections and ethics boards.
The current Ethics Commission members would serve as the new board until July 1, when new members appointed by the governor and legislative leaders would take office. The new board would have four Republicans and four Democrats, and six votes would be needed to take any action.
That would reduce the governor’s power over election decisions, such as schedules for early voting and election-related complaints. Supporters of the change say it will lead to bipartisan compromise in election decisions.
Cooper argues that the change is unconstitutional, and a Wake County Superior Court judge put the law on hold shortly before it was set to take effect on Jan. 1.
Republican legislative leaders appealed that decision, and the N.C. Court of Appeals issued an order Thursday that puts the law into effect pending further Court of Appeals action on the lawsuit.