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Taking away favor of governor’s party on election boards rejected by governor

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(The Center Square) – Revising the structures of North Carolina state and county boards of elections, making each balanced rather than in favor of the party of the governor’s office, has been rejected by the governor.

Senate Bill 749 didn’t have any Democrats for it, any Republicans against it, and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper late Thursday stamped a veto on legislation for the 92nd time.

“North Carolinians deserve to have the knowledge and confidence that their state and local boards of elections are operating in the best interest of the voters, not a particular party,” read a statement from Sen. Warren Daniel, R-Burke. “Single-party control has led to distrust and skepticism among voters. Voters should be asking themselves why Gov. Cooper is so desperate to maintain his partisan grip on the State Board of Elections.”

In a statement with his veto announcement, Cooper accused Republicans of using the maneuver to be able to change an election result they do not like.

“The legislative takeover of state and local elections boards could doom our state’s elections to gridlock and severely limit early voting,” Cooper’s statement said. “It also creates a grave risk that Republican legislators or courts would be empowered to change the results of an election if they don’t like the winner. That’s a serious threat to our democracy, particularly after the nation just saw a presidential candidate try to strongarm state officials into reversing his losing election result. Courts have already ruled the ideas in this bill unconstitutional, and voters overwhelmingly said no when the legislature tried to change the constitution.”

Daniel indicated an override of the veto – done if three-fifths majorities in each chamber agree – would be forthcoming. He sponsored the bill with Sens. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, Lisa Barnes, R-Nash, and Kevin Corbin, R-Macon.

No Partisan Advantage in Elections, as the legislation is titled, would increase the state board to eight members, with appointments split evenly between party leaders in both chambers of the General Assembly. The bill would reduce county boards to four members, using the same appointment process. The state and all 100 county boards each have five members, with respective chairmen appointed by the governor.

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