A panel of judges on Thursday granted Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s request to block a new elections law before voters head to the polls in 2024.
The ruling from the three judges — two Republicans and one Democrat — was unanimous. They ruled that the law, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature last month, is likely an unconstitutional power grab. It’s just a temporary ruling pending a full trial, likely to be held in early 2024….
In addition to changing who has the power to appoint election board members, the law would also make the board have an even number of seats for both parties, instead of giving a majority to whichever party holds the governor’s office.
Republicans have said that’s needed to improve election integrity. But critics, who include Democrats as well as professional election workers and experts, say it would lead to chaos in elections administration — and possibly even spell the end of early voting and other political issues that would presumably result in tie votes and inaction….
On Cooper’s challenge to SB 749, Republican lawmakers have acknowledged that the previous law it’s based on was ruled unconstitutional.
A similar change to the elections board was also later shot down by voters when proposed as a constitutional amendment in 2018, after every living governor — Democratic and Republican — publicly campaigned against it, as well as another similar amendment proposal, as overreaching power grabs.
A lawyer for the state government agreed with Cooper in court Thursday. Senior Deputy Attorney General Amar Majmundar said blocking it from taking effect would be “not just appropriate, but necessary.”
But legislative leaders have said that since the GOP flipped control of the North Carolina Supreme Court in last year’s elections, they believe they have a better chance of winning in court this time and getting the past precedent overturned.