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McCrory, Cooper clash over elections law

Posted August 15, 2013

— Shortly after issuing his first vetoes on Thursday, Gov. Pat McCrory criticized Attorney General Roy Cooper for his outspoken stance against the elections law that the governor signed into law on Monday.

Cooper launched a petition on change.org last week to rally opposition to the bill, calling it "regressive elections legislation."

"The attorney general gave me his political opinion, not his legal opinion," McCrory said in an interview with WRAL News.

McCrory said he would have preferred a standalone voter ID bill, but never considered vetoing the wide-ranging proposal.

The NAACP and other group immediately sued to block the law, which requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. Among its other provisions, it reduces the early voting period from 17 to 10 days, eliminates same-day voter registration during early voting and ends straight-ticket voting.

The Attorney General's Office will likely have to defend the law against such court challenges, and McCrory said Cooper's public opposition doesn't help that defense.

"It is a concern of mine that he has possibly showed a conflict as the chief legal representative of our state in his bringing a case against it and it not being a legal case," McCrory said.

Cooper responded by noting that his personal opinions have no bearing on him carrying out his legal obligations as attorney general.

McCrory discusses vetoes, elections law McCrory discusses vetoes, elections law

“It’s the duty of this office to defend state laws in court whether or not I agree with them, and we have an excellent track record," Cooper said in a statement. "My ultimate duty is to the people of North Carolina, and I’m going to tell them what I think about laws that have an impact on their lives, and that includes trying to stop bad laws and advocating for good ones.”

McCrory also called Republican legislative leaders Thursday, urging them not to attempt an override of either of his vetoes.

"I think it would be wise for them not to waste their time and come back on either one of these vetoes, but I anticipate them coming back, and I think it’s going to be an interesting vote," he said. "Both of these pieces of legislation I vetoed step on the toes of both the left and the right, and I’m not afraid to do that as leader of this state."

One vetoed bill called for people to pass a drug test to receive welfare benefits. The governor called it "a bad piece of legislation."

"What typically happens – and we see this with 'Obamacare' – is they pass a concept, and they have no idea how it's going to be implemented," he said.

The other bill would have eased the requirements for employers to verify the immigration status of some workers, which McCrory said could allow businesses to hire more undocumented workers.

"This was a bill disguised to help farmers," he said, adding that some lawmakers might have been confused about the measure.

McCrory said the two vetoes aren't a sign of conflict with the Republican-led General Assembly.

"It's a disagreement over policy," he said. "When I was (Charlotte) mayor, I vetoed bills right and left."

196 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • HDStreetGlide Aug 23, 1:12 p.m.

    NAACP need to go away, this group does the State of North Carolina no good!!!!!!!!!1

  • racoats3 Aug 22, 10:04 p.m.

    Is buying certain prescriptions or having a procedure at a hospital a privilege or a right? you have to show IDs for these things. when the constitution was written, most people knew everybody else. Nowadays, a lot of folks don't even know their own neighbors' names. I am also against same day registration and voting.

  • racoats3 Aug 22, 9:58 p.m.

    What's wrong with showing a government issued ID to vote? People have to present a picture ID to purchase certain medications at the pharmacy, to buy alcohol, to buy tobacco products, and when being admitted into the hospital for day procedures. If someone can make it to the polls to vote every 2 or 4 years, they can surely make it to a local DMV to get an ID made. The same folks who take them to vote can take them to get an ID made.

  • ggrayonline Aug 22, 4:27 p.m.

    Wray...the reason that the majority of voters are complaining is because McCrory is not the same McCrory that was the mayor in Charlotte. He is simply becoming the rubber stamp for Art Pope and crazy Tea Party driven legislation. As someone who voted for McCrory, that is not who I voted for. I think that probably gives me more right to complain that someone who did not vote for McCrory...

  • notexactly Aug 19, 9:26 a.m.

    wray51
    Well the reason they did not do it before 2008 is because the GOP had NO control until 2010. Did you not know this? That is why the state is so screwed up now. The dems had all the control and have ruined this state. The changes being made now were needed along time ago.

  • wraye51 Aug 17, 8:01 p.m.

    Why did not these law makers make these vote changes before 2008 or before the United States elected their first black president? It took them five years but they finally done it; fixing something that needed no fixing. McCrory and his gang ought to give suckers to the majority of voters, seeing that is who put them in office and should not be complaining, but the majority of voters are complaining; amazing!

  • exteacher Aug 17, 12:44 a.m.

    "Liberals call it a right not an honor, some even think of it as an entitlement BUT never use it. I totally agree with you but unfortunately some groups are using it as a pawn in their game against anyone who disagrees with them. It's a right that many would cherish and would love to have. It is an honorable right that is not utilized by the majority of the population.

    Click to view my profile Bartmeist"

    Actually, since it is in the CONSTITUTION it is a RIGHT. This is not a liberal/conservative definition. It is in the CONSTITUTION. Try reading it..

  • exteacher Aug 17, 12:38 a.m.

    "Simple resolution, amend the NC Constitution to ready "and able to prove identity". Why are people so dead set against showing ID, we have to show it everywhere these days, we have to prove our identity in almost everything else we do, why not in voting."

    Simply because voting is a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. Flying on a plane, buying liquor, cashing a check, etc are not constitutional rights. They are privileges. There is a HUGE difference. This whole law is voter suppression in its purest form. Please explain to me how shortening the early voting time, denying 17 year olds the opportunity to register to vote, consolidating precincts has anything to do with voter ID???

  • exteacher Aug 17, 12:35 a.m.

    "It's to make sure you only vote once and not run all over town to election booths and vote as many times as you want under as many names as you can think of. And to make sure you are 18 years of age. If you do not have an identification card how are they supposed know if your 18 or not"

    OMG....I hope you don't vote!! How is someone 'running around town' making up names to vote under????? You can't make up a random name and say you want to vote!!!

  • miseem Aug 16, 4:59 p.m.

    I'm an open-minded person. I'd be willing to put them all on the table and see where the chips fall. Thankfully, none involves your "right" to listen to NPR 24/7.
    raleighboy524.

    If it were up for a vote, I'd go with it as a right. A lot less dangerous than some of what you've posted.

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