Commentary, News

Cooper vetoes latest GOP power grab bills

Governor Roy Cooper has vetoed two more of the embarrassingly partisan and ill-conceived government reorganization bills sent to him by the Republican General Assembly. This time the bills in question are Senate Bill 68 (the proposal to create the laughably misnamed “Bipartisan Board Elections and Ethics Enforcement”) and House Bill 239 (the proposal to shrink the state Court of Appeals just in time to deny Cooper the right to replace three soon-to-retire Republican judges). As Cooper’s understated veto messages make clear, the bills ought to be called the “Hyperpartisan Republican Elections and Ethics Gridlock Act” and the Let’s Guarantee GOP Control of the Courts Act.”

This is from Cooper’s veto message:

House Bill 239:

“Having three fewer judges will increase the court’s workload and delay timely appeals. Just as bad is the real motivation of Republican legislators, which is to stack the court with judges of their own party. Earlier this session, Republican legislators already injected partisan politics into our courts by slapping political party labels on all judicial races.

A bipartisan group of former state Supreme Court chief justices said that this bill would “seriously harm our judicial system” and “hurt the people of our state.” In addition, I believe this legislation is unconstitutional, and we should all be concerned about unwarranted attacks on the judiciary.”

Senate Bill 68:

This is the same unconstitutional legislation in another package, and it’s an attempt to make it harder for people to register and vote.

Changing the State Board of Elections to a 4-4 partisan split and local county board of elections to a 2-2 partisan split will result in deadlocked votes.

It’s a scheme to ensure that Republicans control state and county boards of elections in Presidential election years when the most races are on the ballot.

The North Carolina Republican Party has a track record of trying to influence Board of Elections members to make it harder for people to vote and have fair elections. Under this bill, that same party controls the pool of appointments of half the state and county elections boards.

I urge legislators to set the right priorities for North Carolina and stop electoral manipulation, which, like gerrymandering, is what’s wrong with politics.”

Let’s hope lawmakers come to their senses and sustain the vetoes.

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