North Carolina trial judges block election board changes made by Republican legislature

Nov 30, 2023, 11:23 AM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina trial judges on Thursday blocked portions of a new law that would transfer Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s authority to pick election board members to the Republican-dominated General Assembly.

Following a 90-minute hearing, the three state judges agreed unanimously to issue a preliminary injunction sought by Cooper. His lawyers argued that the alterations to the State Board of Elections and county boards in all 100 counties need to be stopped now or his directive in the state constitution to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” will be harmed irreparably.

The Republican legislative leaders whom Cooper has sued can appeal the decision to the state Court of Appeals. The outcome of the injunction request and Cooper’s broader litigation on the law, which was enacted just last month, could affect how the 2024 elections are administered in the ninth-largest U.S. state, where races for president and governor are likely to be closely contested. The changes would take effect on Jan. 1.

The state elections board currently comprises five members appointed by the governor — a format that goes back to 1901. The governor’s party always holds three of the seats.

The new law, which went into effect after Republican lawmakers overrode Cooper’s veto, would increase the board to eight members appointed by the General Assembly based on the recommendations of top legislative leaders from both parties. This would likely create a 4-4 split among Democrats and Republicans.

For several years, Republicans have pushed unsuccessfully to alter the composition of the board: They’ve been thwarted both by court rulings and a constitutional amendment that voters rejected in 2018.

GOP leaders say this measure is different, however, and will promote bipartisan election administration and consensus. Cooper and his allies have countered that the changes are a GOP power grab that will lead to board impasses that could erode early voting access and send outcomes of contested elections to the courts or the General Assembly to settle.

Superior Court Judges Lori Hamilton and Andrew Womble — both Republicans — and Edwin Wilson, a Democrat, didn’t give a reason in court for issuing the injunction. But Hamilton suggested during questioning that allowing the law to be carried out on Jan. 1 — only to have it be possibly struck down later — could cause confusion and disarray in a presidential election year.

United States News

Associated Press

Singer Justin Timberlake arrested, accused of driving while intoxicated on Long Island, source says

NEW YORK (AP) — Singer Justin Timberlake has been arrested and is accused of driving while intoxicated on New York’s Long Island, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official said Timberlake was expected to be arraigned later Tuesday in Sag Harbor, on the eastern end of Long Island. The official could not […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Southern New Mexico wildfire leads to evacuation of village of 7,000

RUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — Residents of a village in southern New Mexico were ordered to flee their homes Monday without taking time to grab any belongings due to a fast-moving wildfire. “GO NOW: Do not attempt to gather belongings or protect your home. Evacuate immediately,” officials with Ruidoso, a village home to 7,000 people, said […]

9 hours ago

A sign outside the Internal Revenue Service building is seen, May 4, 2021, in Washington. The gover...

Associated Press

The IRS plans to end another major tax loophole for the wealthy, could raise $50 billion in revenue

The Internal Revenue Service plans to end another major tax loophole that could raise more than $50 billion in revenue over the next decade.

12 hours ago

President Joe Biden meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office at the Wh...

Associated Press

President Biden to announce deportation protection and work permits for those married to US citizens

President Biden is planning to announce a sweeping new policy that would lift the threat of deportation for those married to U.S. citizens.

13 hours ago

Associated Press

Former GOP Rep. George Nethercutt, who defeated House Speaker Tom Foley in 1994, dies at 79

SEATTLE (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, who was a Spokane lawyer with little political experience when he ousted Democratic Speaker of the House Tom Foley as part of a stunning GOP wave that shifted national politics to the right in 1994, has died. He was 79. Nethercutt died Friday near Denver of progressive […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

Convicted killer of California college student Kristin Smart ordered to pay $350k in restitution

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — A California judge ruled Monday that a man convicted of killing 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart in 1996 must pay just over $350,000 to her family for costs they incurred after her death. Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe ordered Paul Flores to make the payments after a […]

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

North Carolina trial judges block election board changes made by Republican legislature