A panel of Superior Court judges on Tuesday blocked two North Carolina constitutional amendments from statewide ballots. The order from a three-judge panel said ballots should not be printed that ask voters to make changes in the state constitution on how state boards and commission members are appointed and how judges are selected to fill vacancies. The order said those ballot questions did not fully inform voters of the changes that would result if the measures passed. The court order gives Gov. Roy Cooper a victory, at least temporarily, in his lawsuit against legislative leaders. The order has no real effect since the judges last week ordered that no ballots be printed while the court cases and appeals continue. Attorneys representing Cooper, the state elections board and legislative leaders said at a hearing last week they would appeal the order if their side lost.
The Republican-led legislature wants voters to make six changes to the state constitution.
The Democratic governor wants two amendments removed, arguing the ballot language is misleading. One would strip governors of their power to appoint members to hundreds of boards and commissions and give that power to the legislature. The other would give the legislature a major role in filling judicial vacancies, now done by the governor.
On Monday, the state’s five former living governors, Democrats and Republicans, stood together to criticize those amendments, The News & Observer reported. The five former governors filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Cooper’s position.