The Republican-led legislature in North Carolina has defied Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of an election law he deemed a “threat to democracy” and successfully passed the law, asserting election integrity.
Cooper claims that the bill, which would take election boards away from the governor’s party and put them under the control of a group split equally between Democrats and Republicans, will result in gridlock when deciding early-voting locations and certifying results.
The North Carolina legislature was able to override Cooper’s veto because they have a three-fifths, veto-proof majority in the state capital in Raleigh. The Senate voted 30-19 to override Cooper’s veto while the House vote came in at 72-44.
The Hill reported that activists are likely to take the bill to court in an attempt to stop it from being implemented, due to the governor’s claim that it poses a “threat” to democracy in the state.
“The legislative takeover of state and local elections boards could doom our state’s elections to gridlock and severely limit early voting. It also creates a grave risk that Republican legislators or courts would be empowered to change the results of an election if they don’t like the winner,” he wrote in a Sept. 28 statement.
“That’s a serious threat to our democracy, particularly after the nation just saw a presidential candidate try to strongarm state officials into reversing his losing election results. Courts have already ruled the ideas in this bill unconstitutional, and voters overwhelmingly said no when the legislature tried to change the constitution,” Cooper exclaimed.
In addition to overriding Governor Cooper’s veto of SB 749, the legislature also overruled his attempt to prevent a bill from passing which would limit the amount of time an absentee ballot can be accepted for it to be counted.
Cooper accused the Republicans of grasping for power instead of working for election integrity.
“This legislation has nothing to do with election security and everything to do with Republicans keeping and gaining power,” Cooper said. “It requires valid votes to be tossed out unnecessarily, schemes to restrict early voting and absentee ballots, encourages voter intimidation and attempts to give Republican legislators the authority to decide contested election results.”
GOP State Rep. Grey Mills disagreed.
“The one thing this bill does do is it does improve voting in elections for the entire state. It’s not killing early voting — we’re improving early voting,” Mills said.
Election integrity activist Cleta Mitchell helped Republicans add a provision in the bill to allow election observers to listen to conversations between voters and election workers and take notes about what they heard.
Predictably, liberal activists dramatically asserted that the measures could potentially lead to a situation similar to that of the Ku Klux Klan.
In a letter opposing the measures, left-wing groups including the ACLU of North Carolina, Common Cause North Carolina, NC Voters for Clean Elections, and the NAACP North Carolina crosses the line into an opportunity for voter intimidation and suppression, reminiscent of Reconstruction-era tactics by the Ku Klux Klan,” NC Newsline reported.
Democrats always oppose any measure to clean up our election systems. And it is telling that they are upset that there could be a bipartisan board governing elections instead of them being controlled by the Democrats.
Erica Carlin is an independent journalist, opinion writer and contributor to several news and opinion sources. She is based in Georgia.