The North Carolina Senate on Thursday voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of commonsense legislation that restores partisan elections for local judicial races, helping ensure North Carolina voters have more information about the candidates they elect. The House of Representatives voted to override the governor’s veto earlier this week, so the bill is now law.
In the 2016 election, nearly 800,000 fewer North Carolinians voted in the state Supreme Court race than in the presidential race because they did not have enough information about the judicial candidates. And on average, about 450,000 fewer North Carolinians voted in the state Supreme Court race than in state Court of Appeals races, where judicial candidates’ partisan affiliation was clearly identified.
The law fully reinstates the system that was in place for decades prior to the late 1990s and early 2000s, before previous legislatures changed it to prevent voters from using party affiliation to elect judges with a conservative, strict constructionist approach to the constitution.
“For years, Gov. Cooper and his allies have stoked fears of voter disenfranchisement – yet when he had the opportunity to actually increase voter involvement, he rejected a measure that the data suggests would do just that,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham.) “I’m pleased the General Assembly corrected the governor’s misstep and this bill is now law.”