Judges hearing arguments from Gov. Cooper, interest groups to block NCGA amendments

North Carolina

A three-judge panel is hearing arguments Wednesday on requests by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and interest groups to keep constitutional amendments proposed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly off November ballots are back in court.

The timing is important because the state wants to finalize information that will appear on the ballot later this week.

Attorneys for Cooper want the judges to stop two proposed constitutional amendments from appearing on the ballot.

They’d limit the governor’s abilities to appoint people to boards and commissions and fill judicial vacancies.

The attorneys argue Republican state lawmakers wrote the ballot questions in a “false and misleading” way, meaning the explanation voters see on the ballot isn’t really what they’re voting on.

The lawyer for the General Assembly pushed back, arguing legislators had the right to put these questions on the ballot.

“The text of the Constitution is plain and clear. The General Assembly has the sole authority to propose constitutional amendments as prescribed,” said Mart Warf, attorney for the General Assembly.

Cooper’s attorney, John Wester, disagreed.

“…a ballot question that does not fairly and accurately present proposed amendments to voters amounts to a deceit,” he said.

The state’s five living former governors, three Democrats and two Republicans, opposed the amendments, too, saying they’d violate the separation of powers.

Lawyers from attorneys representing the NAACP and Clean Air Carolina are trying to stop two more amendments from appearing on the ballot. They will present their arguments later on Wednesday.

Those amendments would lower the cap on the state income tax rate and require you to show a photo ID to vote.

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