Republicans recently passed a new law in North Carolina that limited the power of the new Democratic governor Roy Cooper. Cooper filed a lawsuit Friday to block the new law.
“This complex new law passed in just two days by the Republican legislature is unconstitutional and anything but bipartisan. A tie on a partisan vote would accomplish what many Republicans want: making it harder for North Carolinians to vote. It will result in elections with longer lines, reduced early voting, fewer voting places, little enforcement of campaign finance laws, indecision by officials and mass confusion,” Cooper said.
In North Carolina the Sate Board of Elections is made up of both Democrats and Republicans, giving the members of the governor’s party a one vote majority. With the new law in place, the one-vote majority would have been eliminated. This meant that the legislature would control the State Board of Elections.
This has been a plan of the Republicans who have controlled the North Carolina Legislature since 2010. After Roy Cooper won the election, Republicans called for a special session to limit Cooper’s powers.
In the lawsuit, Cooper says the law – known as Senate Bill 4 – that takes the control of the State Board of Elections from the governor and gives it to the General Assembly is unconstitutional.
Wake County Superior Court Judge Don Stephens plans to review the law on Thursday.
“If I do not grant the temporary restraining order, the State Board of Elections will be disbanded. That will not maintain the status quo,” Stephens said.
In response to the lawsuit, Republican Senate leader Phil Berger said “Roy Cooper’s effort to stop the creation of a bipartisan board with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to enforce elections and ethics laws may serve his desire to preserve his own political power, but it does not serve the best interests of our state.”
According to ABC News, Cooper’s lawsuit makes good on his previous threats to take Republicans to court over laws passed during two December special sessions. Another of the laws requires Cooper’s Cabinet choices to be confirmed by legislators. The state constitution gives the Senate the ability to “advise and consent” to the governor’s appointees by a majority vote, but that provision hadn’t been used in at least several decades.