The N.C. Senate’s final vote Thursday on a plan to change Wake County commissioner elections changed little from a vote the day before: a 32-16 split along party lines will now send the bill to the House.
The issue, pushed by state Sen. Chad Barefoot, a Wake Forest Republican, has been criticized by Democrats as an attempt to upend the Democratic sweep in last year’s commissioner elections. Republicans say the bill would end “outrageously expensive” countywide campaigns that result in a board that mostly lives in Raleigh.
In Thursday’s vote, all Republican senators voted in favor of Senate Bill 181, including three from Wake: Sen. John Alexander of Raleigh, Sen. Tamara Barringer of Cary and Barefoot. All Democrats voted no.
The first vote on Wednesday was 31-16 because several Republicans were absent.
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Rep. Paul Stam, an Apex Republican and a member of the House leadership, says he’ll “lead the effort” to pass the bill in his chamber. Stam said last week that over time, the bill would make the commission more evenly balanced between the two political parties.
Here is Barefoot on March 5 explaining the bill:
And here’s Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria explaining why he opposes it: