Politics & Government

NC voters reject constitutional amendments limiting governor’s power; 4 others pass

What are the 6 NC constitutional amendments placed on the fall ballot?

The NC legislature is placing six constitutional amendments on the fall ballot. Here's a look at what North Carolinians will be voting on.
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The NC legislature is placing six constitutional amendments on the fall ballot. Here's a look at what North Carolinians will be voting on.

Proposed constitutional amendments that would limit the governor’s power over state appointments have failed.

An amendment that would restructure the state elections board and limit the governor’s power to appoint its members, as well as another that would give the legislature a significant role in who is picked to fill judicial vacancies, were both losing by large margins, with more than 99 percent of precincts reporting.

These were the amendments Gov. Roy Cooper fought to keep off the ballot and those which the state’s five living governors, both Republicans and Democrats, opposed.

North Carolina voters were in favor of adding more rights for crime victims, an income-tax cap, protection for hunting and fishing, and a requirement for voters to show photo identification to the state constitution, according to early, unofficial election returns.

The amendments unleashed ad campaigns both for and against them.

The state Democratic Party, a coalition of organizations that included the North Carolina ACLU, the state NAACP and Democracy North Carolina, and a handful of grassroots organizations opposed all the amendments.

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A political action committee called Stop Deceptive Amendments spent more than $7.7 million to oppose them, with most of its attention focused on the two that failed, campaign director Justin Guillory said in an email.

“Today is a victory for fair elections, fair courts, a healthy system of checks and balances, and for all North Carolinians,” Guillory said in a prepared statement. “Voters stood up and said NO to unnecessary partisanship in our courts and the Board of Elections. Tonight was a rebuke to the politicians in Raleigh that sought to undermine our democracy in an attempt to gain more power for themselves.”

Americans for Prosperity, an organization founded by the billionaire Koch brothers, announced last month it opposed the amendment on judicial appointments and would work to defeat it with digital and direct-mail ads.

Republicans in the legislature pushed all the amendments. The hunting and fishing protection and the victims’ rights amendments won broad bipartisan support, but all Democrats opposed the voter ID amendment. The state Republican Party supported all six amendments.

A new PAC supporting voter ID, which received $250,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee, announced in October it would air ads supporting the amendment.

Marsy’s Law, which would add more rights for crime victims to the constitution, was buttressed by television and digital ad campaigns. Henry Nicholas III, a billionaire entrepreneur from California, led the campaign and was spending millions to get such laws passed across the country, the Charlotte Observer reported. The laws are named after Nicholas’ sister, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.

A constitutional amendment protecting hunting and fishing rights is on the NC ballot for the November 2018 midterm elections. Supporters say there is an attack on hunting; critics worry it could prevent regulations.

Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to give the legislature a role say it would help cut down partisanship on the court and increase diversity on the bench, opponents argue the amendment is another example of legislative overreach.

A North Carolina constitutional amendment in the 2018 election would give crime victims more rights. Will “Marsy’s Law” make sure victims’ rights are enforced, or create a financial burden on the court system?

The tax cap is one of six constitutional amendments the legislature put on the ballot in the the North Carolina midterm elections. It could affect education spending, teachers say. How would it work?

Republicans say photo voter ID is needed for security while opponents say it will keep people from voting. Voters will decide on a North Carolina constitutional amendment to require voter ID.

One of North Carolina’s six proposed constitutional amendments would change the makeup of the state elections board. It also would change how members are appointed. It’s one of the amendments former governors oppose.

Bonner: 919-829-4821; @Lynn_Bonner