Judges won't delay ruling merging NC elections, ethics board

Posted June 15

three-judge panel

— A three-judge panel said Thursday that it will not block a North Carolina law merging oversight of state elections, ethics, lobbying and campaign finance laws into a single agency.

The panel two weeks ago dismissed Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's lawsuit against legislative Republicans, and the judges refused to stay their ruling while Cooper appeals.

The law takes away a chunk of Cooper's authority over managing elections. The new elections, ethics and campaign finance board has an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, but a Republican will head it during presidential election years.

The judicial panel's earlier ruling means that the old state elections board is extinct but the new, combined version has no members until Cooper appoints some.

Cooper immediately appealed the decision, prompting a sharp response from Republicans.

"Gov. Cooper continues to haul his political disagreements into court at the expense of North Carolina citizens," House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a joint statement. "He should abandon his appeals and stop wasting taxpayer dollars attempting to prevent a bipartisan state ethics and elections board from overseeing his actions."

Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, called on Cooper to start appointing people to the new state board.

"Without them, the appointments to the 100 local county boards can't take place, and time is critical as we move towards county/city elections," Woodhouse said in an email.


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