Greensboro News & Record: It's up to you to reject constitutional amendments
The constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot in November are either unnecessary or very damaging to North Carolina’s democracy. Republicans in Raleigh seek to cement their power by making it harder to vote, taking away the governor’s powers, and gaining power over our courts. Their plans have consistently been struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. This latest plan is to permanently change the constitution to rig the system in their favor. They are counting on voters to just vote yes to vague amendments that they don’t understand. All living former governors and former Supreme Court chief justices are speaking out against the power grabbing amendments. Now North Carolina must say no to these terrible amendments.
When you go the polls Nov. 6, you will face questions about six constitutional amendments. You likely have read the many arguments about these amendments, including the process through which they are drafted, the creation of the wording used for your review in the voting booth and challenges to the intent and wording by Gov. Roy Cooper and others.
As of Tuesday, all impediments to your voting on these amendments have been cleared. The N.C. Supreme Court ruled against Cooper and the NAACP and directed elections officials to complete the ballot. Mail voting is supposed to start next week, early voting in about three weeks.
The topics you see on the ballot may not be clear when you stand in the booth, but here is what is at stake for you: The legislators will take power from the executive branch for themselves (appointments to board of elections and ethics and mid-term judicial vacancies); will create an opportunity to disenfranchise voters (framework for a voter ID law); will limit the state’s ability to address future financial crises (by lowering the cap on income tax); will create more protections for the victims of crimes; and, for serendipity, will ensure that you can hunt and fish.
None of these is a good idea as presented. None rises to the level of requiring constitutional protection. Pitching these ideas to you is bad governing at least and the rawest political power play you can imagine at most. Legislators are counting on you just to say yes.