The Republican National Committee is moving to intervene in lawsuits from Democrats challenging recently approved legislation billed as a boost election integrity.
Senate Bill 747 contains “appropriate safeguards and transparency while still offering voters ample opportunities to cast a ballot,” the RNC and North Carolina Republican Party wrote in a motion to intervene in three lawsuits filed by the Democratic National Committee, its state affiliate, and allies.
“Joe Biden should be focused on solving the crises that have erupted under his watch, not directing his political operation to sue state legislators for passing good laws,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a prepared statement Thursday. “Senate Bill 747 cracks down on noncitizens voting, protects bipartisan poll watchers, and gets rid of dark money in elections – polling shows that the American people support these common-sense measures.
“The RNC and NCGOP are proud to fight for North Carolinians in court with this intervention,” she said.
The filing argues Democrats, “armed with hyperbole and mischaracterization,” are making “far-reaching assertions” about alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and state laws.
“The question before the Court today is not whether any of these challenges has merit, but whether this litigation of paramount public importance will proceed with or without participation of one of the nation’s two major political parties,” the filing read.
Republicans holding majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly overrode Democratic Gov. Cooper’s veto of SB747 on Oct. 10. The law implements an Election Day deadline for receiving absentee ballots used by 30 states, a ban on private funds in elections, and removal of noncitizens from voter rolls.
Other provisions increase retention of election records to 22 months, require bipartisan representation of election officials at early voting sites, and implement clear rules on poll observers.
The law was greeted by legal challenges with three separate lawsuits involving eight Democratic Party-affiliated organizations and allies, represented by six law firms.
The plaintiffs include the Democratic National Committee and North Carolina Democratic Party; the League of Women Voters of North Carolina; Democracy North Carolina; the North Carolina Black Alliance; Southern Coalition for Social Justice; Voto Latino; Watauga County Voting Rights Task Force; and the Elias Law Group.
The litigation targets numerous provisions. Thursday’s motion from the Republican National Committee notes it’s unlikely Cooper and Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein “will vigorously defend laws they have publicly opposed.”
The lawsuits, filed against the director and members of the State Board of Elections, aim to halt the law from going into effect. Legislative leaders filed a motion to intervene on Oct. 16.
“The U.S. Constitution, the North Carolina Constitution, and multiple federal statutes prohibit these myriad efforts at vote suppression, which will disenfranchise many North Carolinians,” Democrats say in the litigation.
All three lawsuits are expected to be consolidated and proceed together.
From 1900 through 1964, Democratic presidential candidates carried the state every year but 1928. From 1968 to present, Republican presidential candidates have carried the state every year but 1976 (Carter) and 2008 (Obama).
The state’s voter rolls, as of this past Saturday, are nearly even thirds for the more than 7.3 million registered – 36.4% unaffiliated, 32.8% Democrats and 30.1% Republicans.