The North Carolina House voted 65-51 today to pass a bill that would make Superior and District Court judicial elections partisan again.
House Bill 100 will now go to the Senate for a vote. If passed, all of North Carolina’s judicial elections would become partisan since lawmakers already added party labels back into Supreme Court judicial elections during a special session in December.
Partisan judicial elections are not recognized as a best practice for keeping the courts independent, and North Carolina joins only seven other states across the nation that have them.
Republicans and Democrats had similar arguments on the House floor that were presented in a Tuesday committee meeting. Proponents of the bill say voters need party labels to help educate them about judicial candidates’ ideological philosophies. Opponents argue that judges should be free from political labels that could make them subservient to a particular party when they are supposed to be wholly independent.
Members of the public, legal advocates and attorneys have spoken out against the bill.