Battle over state elections board rages on
Two days before a bill fixing problems with state class sizes was set to become law, Gov. Roy Cooper's administration on Tuesday filed a legal challenge to a provision of the measure dealing with the state elections board.Posted — Updated
The request for a temporary restraining order is the latest shot in a long-running war between the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders over the elections board that even predates his inauguration.
In a special December 2016 session, Republican lawmakers created an eight-member State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement that would be evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. The elections board has traditionally had five members, with the majority belonging to the governor's party.
Cooper challenged the new board in court, arguing that lawmakers overstepped their authority and were preventing him from carrying out his duty to ensure elections laws are properly carried out in North Carolina.
So, the administration is going to court over Republican lawmakers' efforts to establish a new system for appointing people to the elections board.
Cooper spokesman Ford Porter called the election board provision unconstitutional on Tuesday.
"We remain committed to protecting people’s right to vote, and this part of the new law compromises that," Porter said in an email.
Legislative leaders criticized the latest legal challenge, noting it could kill the class size fix as well.
"Today’s lawsuit – filed against a bill the governor pledged he would allow to become law – tries to stop not only the bipartisan elections enforcement that 80 percent of North Carolinians want but potentially also jeopardizes class size funding and more than $57 million in additional funds for school children in eastern North Carolina," Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, and Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, said in a joint statement.
"Just last week, I offered to meet with Gov. Cooper to reach a consensus on the bipartisan board through dialogue and discussion, but sadly he demonstrated that he’d rather sue than govern," Lewis added.
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.