Before you vote: Breaking down what’s on the ballot

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On Election Day, six amendments are on the ballot for North Carolinians.

Christopher Young, a paralegal professor at Pitt Community College, said the amendments may seem politicized, but that’s nothing new.

“I don’t think it is possible to have a constitutional amendment on the ballot that is not going to be politicized,” said Young. “The Constitution, at least the state constitution is fairly easy to amend.”

Two amendments, particularly the fifth and sixth, are drawing lots of attention.

The fifth proposed amendment deals with judicial appointments at the state level.

On your ballot, you’ll see it under the referenda section, reading: “Constitutional amendment to change to process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the governor has sole appointment power to a process in which the people of the state nominate individuals.” 

In North Carolina, voters put in judges. You’ll likely see some on your ballot this midterm.

As it stands now, if a judge leaves their seat early, the governor has the sole power to appoint someone to serve out the term.

This amendment would change that.

Supporters of the amendment said governors have too few restraints on their ability to pick judges.

They argue this causes political pawns to be put on the bench.

Opponents said it’s another measure to strip power from the governor’s office and could open the door to judicial candidates lobbying legislatures to be voted to the bench.

A vote “yes” for the amendment means you approve of the change.

A “no” vote would keep the process the same.

The sixth proposed amendment deals with potential changes to the election board.

Right now, the bipartisan Board of Ethics and Election Enforcement has nine members.

Each party nominates six people.

The governor picks four from the Democratic list and four from the Republican.

The ninth person comes from two unaffiliated nominees, one of whom the governor picks. 

If passed, the amendment would change the board’s make up to a total of eight people, or four from each party.

Supporters said the governor has too much power over the electoral process, adding the bipartisan split of four and four would force the board to come up with bipartisan decisions.

Critics said the change is another attempt to shift powers from the governor to the General Assembly.

Many worry it would weaken the enforcement of the board.

A “yes” vote for the amendment would change the board’s formation.

A “no” vote would keep the process the same.

One amendment deals with making hunting and fishing a right in North Carolina.

There’s one about voter ID and whether one should be required to vote.

There’s also one for the rights of crime victims known as Marcy’s Law, which 9 On Your Side’s Courtney Allen will break down on Monday.
 

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