Judge Declines To Rule On Request To Block Amendment Questions On Fall Ballot

Aug 8, 2018

A judge has declined to rule on a request to block some constitutional amendment questions approved by lawmakers from appearing on ballots this fall in North Carolina. 

In making his decision Tuesday, Judge Paul Ridgeway said he’s sending the case to a three-judge panel appointed by the Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court because the constitutionality of the legislation is being challenged.

The hearing yesterday was on two lawsuits filed over the amendment questions arguing the language Republicans used in writing them is false or misleading. One came from Governor Roy Cooper, who is challenging two amendments that would move authority over filling vacant judgeships and controlling board and commission appointments from the executive branch to the legislature. The other lawsuit, filed by the North Carolina NAACP and Clean Air Carolina, seeks to block amendment questions that would enshrine a mandate for photo identification to vote in person and reduce the income tax rate cap. Both lawsuits name the state elections board, which has yet take a position on the issue.

Gov. Cooper filed the lawsuit after the General Assembly in a special session on Saturday overrode the governor’s veto of a measure that stripped a state panel of the job of writing captions that will appear above the amendment questions. 

In total, lawmakers approved six constitutional amendment questions for this fall’s ballot.  State election officials have said the deadline to finalize ballots is this week.