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

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump reacts after speaking at a campaign...

Associated Press

Trump expected to turn his full focus on Harris at first rally since Biden’s exit from 2024 race

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Donald Trump is holding his first public campaign rally since President Joe Biden dropped out of a 2024 matchup that both major parties had spent months preparing for, leaving the former president to direct his ire toward his likely new opponent, Vice President Kamala Harris. Trump is expected to turn his […]

58 minutes ago

A runner and their pacer run as the sun rises behind them on California Route 190 during the Badwat...

Associated Press

Runners set off on the annual Death Valley ultramarathon billed as the world’s toughest foot race

DEATH VALLEY NATOINAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — During a rainstorm that partially obscured the light of a a nearly full moon, 97 runners pushed off in desolate Death Valley with the launch of a 48-hour annual ultramarathon billed as the world’s toughest foot race — the Badwater 135. After starting late Monday night, the men […]

1 hour ago

FILE - FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee o...

Associated Press

FBI chief to face questions over Trump assassination attempt as he returns to Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to testify Wednesday about the bureau’s investigation into the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump, with lawmakers at a congressional hearing likely to press him for fresh details about the gunman’s motive and background. The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee will represent Wray’s most […]

1 hour ago

President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One as he arrives Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Ju...

Associated Press

Biden will make a case for his legacy – and for Harris to continue it – in his Oval Office address

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even though President Joe Biden won’t be on the ballot this November, voters still will be weighing his legacy. As Vice President Kamala Harris moves to take his place as the Democratic standard-bearer, Biden’s accomplishments remain very much at risk should Republican Donald Trump prevail. How Biden’s single term — and his […]

1 hour ago

Former U.S. Army medical technician Louis M. Gigliotti tours the Alaska Veterans Museum following h...

Associated Press

An Alaska veteran is finally getting his benefits — 78 years after the 103-year-old was discharged

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 103-year-old World War II veteran who’s been paying his medical bills out-of-pocket is finally getting his veterans benefits from the U.S. government after 78 years. Louis Gigliotti’s caretaker says the former U.S. Army medical technician has a card from the Veteran Administration but he never realized he could use his […]

1 hour ago

Vice President Kamala Harris campaigns for President as the presumptive Democratic candidate during...

Associated Press

Democrats hope Harris’ bluntness on abortion will translate to 2024 wins in Congress, White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden might not often use the word “abortion” when he talks about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but Vice President Kamala Harris sure does. She’s also toured a Planned Parenthood clinic where the procedure is performed, and routinely links the fall of Roe to the larger issue of rising […]

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


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.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

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