Monday, October 29, 2018
We explore the six amendments to the North Carolina Constitution that voters will decide in this mid-term election. What do they propose and why are they controversial?
In this year's midterm election, North Carolina voters are deciding on six proposed amendments to the state's constitution. On the ballot is an amendment that protects hunting and fishing rights, a proposal to cap the state income tax rate, an amendment to provide additional rights for crime victims, and a proposal that would require voters to provide a photo ID to vote.
But two of the proposed amendments are getting the most attention – and both would shift power from the governor’s office to the legislature. One would change the process for filling judicial vacancies and the other amendment makes changes to the state board that enforces ethics and elections law. Both have been controversial and have drawn criticism from all five living former North Carolina governors.
All six amendments have divided support and opposition along political lines. Republicans are encouraging support for all six, while Democrats hope voters will reject them.
Surveys indicate that most registered voters are uninformed about the proposed constitutional amendments. So we go in-depth on what's on the ballot, what the amendments would change if approved by voters, and we hear from both a supporter and opponent of the amendments.
Colin Campbell, Editor of NC Insider, a state government news service for The News and Observer (@RaleighReporter)
Brent Woodcox, special counsel at the North Carolina General Assembly (@BrentWoodcox)
Gerry Cohen, former director of legislative drafting and special counsel at the NC General Assembly (@gercohen)
The constitutional amendment language as it appears on the ballot:
- Constitutional amendment protecting the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.
- Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.
- Constitutional amendment to reduce the income tax rate in North Carolina to a maximum allowable rate of seven percent (7%).
- Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting in person.
- Constitutional amendment to change the process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the Governor has sole appointment power to a process in which the people of the State nominate individuals to fill vacancies by way of a commission comprised of appointees made by the judicial, executive, and legislative branches charged with making recommendations to the legislature as to which nominees are deemed qualified; then the legislature will recommend at least two nominees to the Governor via legislative action not subject to gubernatorial veto; and the Governor will appoint judges from among these nominees.
- Constitutional amendment to establish an eight-member Bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement in the Constitution to administer ethics and elections law.