Commentary

New and scathing editorials decry amendments as “cynical,” “rawest political power play”

The editorials from major media outlets decrying the six proposed constitutional amendments on this fall’s North Carolina ballot continue to pile up. On Saturday, Raleigh’s News & Observer pointed out that a new Elon University poll finds that voters are mostly in the dark about the amendments. The editorial (“The NC GOP’s amendment plan: Fool the voters”) went on to note that:

“The idea that these Republicans want ‘the people’ to decide has been absurd from the start. They have shown no interest in hearing from the people since they took control of the legislature in 2011. Public hearings on legislation, when they occur, are often for show only. And every effort has been made to suppress the public’s voice through extreme gerrymandering, laws that make it harder to vote and the mass arrests of protesters.

Now, with their veto-proof majorities at risk in November’s election, Republicans are trying to legislate years ahead. They want amendments that will lock-in tax rates, switch appointment powers from the Democratic governor to the legislature and establish an as yet undefined voter ID requirement that will mostly affect constituencies that tend to vote Democratic.

It’s likely this cynical strategy to subvert the democratic process by using the direct democracy of a statewide vote will work. The amendments will be presented as popular or harmless-sounding changes, but the negative consequences are left unsaid.

What voters will find on their ballots in November won’t be what an amendment should be: a broad and easily understood change that deserves the durable protection of being added to the state Constitution. What they’ll find are tricks presented as improvements.”

And this is from the lead editorial in this morning’s Winston-Salem Journal (“Reject this power play involving the NC Constitution”):

“Our legislature has acted with so little concern for transparency and full representation that any future decisions probably won’t require much process. Retiring state Rep. John Blust (R-Greensboro) derided his colleagues as being controlled by a small group of the powerful. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that every appointment now will be the product of a few rather than everyone?

These amendments were drafted in the dark, presented under a deadline, removed from full-throated debate, shoved on the ballot for you to consider. Why? Because their passage cedes to the legislature tools to execute more self-serving judgments without input from your representative.

The only way to check this power play is for you to reject them all.”

Amen to that.

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