The race for governor in North Carolina was only recently settled after mandated recounts and an incumbent that did not want to concede and made outrageous claims of widespread voter fraud.
This week, in the waning hours of their hold on North Carolina’s executive branch, Republicans unveiled and quickly pushed through a series of bills that would significantly curb Gov.-elect Roy Cooper’s (D) power.
Republicans were voting on measures Thursday that would, among other things, require the governor’s Cabinet appointments to be approved by the state Senate and effectively give Republicans control of the Board of Elections during election years. Other bills appeared designed to limit Democrats’ judicial influence by making North Carolina one of just a handful of states that holds partisan elections for its state Supreme Court justices.
But he said it is potentially concerning that lawmakers are powering through these changes in such a blatantly political way: A Republican legislature is convening a special session to pass bills that limit an incoming Democratic governor’s power.
Pat McCrory, North Carolina’s outgoing Republican governor, has signed a law stripping executive powers from his successor, Democrat Roy Cooper.
The law removes the State Board of Elections from the governor’s control by reducing the number of members on the board from five — three of whom could be from the governor’s party — to four members, evenly split between the parties.
Three of North Carolina’s county election boards faced a legal challenge in November after they attempted to revoke the voting rights of thousands of registered voters shortly before Election Day. A federal judge blocked the move.
“They knew for weeks what they were going to do and they didn’t tell the public. That’s wrong. They need to put these issues out on the table so that the people know about them so that there’s time to debate them.”
On Friday, the Legislature also passed a second bill that would further curb the powers of the incoming administration. That bill, if McCrory signs it, would require Cooper’s cabinet secretaries to receive Senate confirmation, would significantly reduce the number of administrative positions in the executive branch, would strip the governor of his right to appoint trustees to the University of North Carolina and would take away some of the governor’s power to oversee schools in the state.