Courts & the Law, Defending Democracy, News

BREAKING: 3-judge panel rules Board of Elections, Ethics Enforcement structure unconstitutional

A three-judge panel ruled the evening before early voting that Republican lawmakers unconstitutionally restructured the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement after Gov. Roy Cooper was elected.

Provisions of a state law restructuring the State Board (including its executive director and chairperson) and county boards of elections violates the separation of powers clause in the Constitution by diminishing the Governor’s control over the agency, according to the 2-1 opinion released after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Judges Jesse Caldwell III, a Democrat who presides in Gaston County and Todd Burke, a Democrat who presides in Forsyth County signed the opinion. Judge Jeffery Foster, a Republican who presides in Pitt County, wrote a dissenting opinion noting that he believed the issues were political questions and therefore nonjusticiable.

The split decision enjoins the parts of the law ruled unconstitutional but suspends that injunction until after the November election is certified so the election process can continue without interruption.

It’s not immediately clear if GOP legislative leaders will appeal the decision. There is a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot that also restructures the State Board.

The State Board currently consists of nine members — four Democrats, four Republicans and one unaffiliated voter. The executive director is Kim Strach, who was appointed by former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. County boards are composed of four members evenly divided by Republicans and Democrats.

The proposed constitutional amendment would eliminate the unaffiliated representation on the State Board and give the legislature more appointment power over the agency.

Read Tuesday’s full court opinion below:

3-judge panel order NCSBE by NC Policy Watch on Scribd

Check Also

Watchdog Bob Hall raises new questions in Moore poultry deal

Public watchdog Bob Hall is raising attention about ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

“Is this person a citizen of the United States?” To some that might seem like a simple question to p [...]

Many Robeson County residents have drinking water that is more acidic than strong black coffee, whil [...]

Cases from NC, Virginia, Maryland could provide vehicle for Supreme Court to issue a definitive ruli [...]

At the corner of 4th and Liberty Streets in downtown Winston-Salem, the city is changing. A construc [...]

Same-sex couples in North Carolina won the freedom to marry in 2014, but LGBTQ people continue to be [...]

At long last, we’ve learned who UNC Chancellor Carol Folt is, just in time to say farewell. Folt’s i [...]

If there’s a single most maddening and telling hallmark of the hard Right leadership that’s dominate [...]

Did you know that student performance in North Carolina charter schools is increasingly falling behi [...]