Judges Rule on Bipartisan North Carolina Elections-Ethics Board

elections, ethics, North Carolina

A North Carolina Superior Court three-judge panel kept in place the recently merged bipartisan state board of elections and ethics enforcement but voided a portion of the law regulating how members would be appointed to that board.

The ruling was in response to a mandate from the North Carolina Supreme Court after they held the membership of and appointment to the bipartisan board was a separation of powers violation.

In response to the Supreme Court’s holding, lawmakers passed House Bill 90 giving the governor the authority to fire any member of the board, so long as he fills the spot with a member from the same party. The bill also allows the governor to appoint a ninth, unaffiliated member, to avoid deadlock.

Gov. Cooper said publicly he would let House Bill 90 become law without his signature, despite his disagreement with it.

Additionally, he has filed a motion with the North Carolina Supreme Court challenging the three-judge panel’s decision and seeking clarity regarding the scope of the Supreme Court’s January holding, which affects the validity of House Bill 90 if it becomes law.