Shortly before Gov. Roy Cooper, a North Carolina Democrat, began his first term in 2017, his rivals in the Republican-controlled legislature voted to strip the position of key powers, including the governor’s longstanding authority to appoint majorities to the state election board and local election boards in all 100 counties. After the state Supreme Court ruled that move illegal, the lawmakers put the idea on the ballot, but the state’s voters shot that down, too.
Now, seven years after their first try, the legislators appear on the verge of getting what they have long sought.
On Wednesday, the State House of Representatives followed the State Senate in passing legislation that would put the legislature in charge of all election board appointments. It would also change the number of positions on each board to split seats equally between Republican and Democratic members, eliminating the extra seat — controlled by the governor — that had served as a tiebreaker in disputes….
Another court challenge is likely. But it probably will end up before a state Supreme Court controlled by Republicans who have established a pattern of reversing past Democratic rulings in politically sensitive cases.
Well beyond any policy differences, the Republicans’ move to shift power from Governor Cooper to themselves underscores the blood-feud intensity of the political divide in a state evenly split between Republican and Democratic voters but where Republicans increasingly have gained political control.