The state House voted along party lines Thursday to retool a Republican law struck down by a court that combined elections and ethics duties into one board, which its chief proponent says he hopes would settle the matter without legal appeals. But Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who sued over the original law that he argues prevented him from overseeing elections, said he’ll veto the reworked measure if it reaches his desk and threatened legal action again if necessary “to protect the integrity of our electoral system.” The bill “is the latest GOP attempt to curtail voting rights in North Carolina? – and I intend to fight it,” Cooper wrote online hours before the House voted 68-42 for the measure, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, possibly next week.
The combined ethics and elections board was among several laws the GOP-controlled legislature passed two weeks before Cooper took office that reduced or checked his powers. Cooper sued over three areas in the laws. In a ruling last month, three judges sided with the governor in two areas, including that the combined panel usurped his executive branch duties.
The proposed amended law still leaves in place an eight-member panel with membership equally divided by the two parties. But it attempts to make concessions to the governor in light of last month’s ruling to end appeals.