The North Carolina Supreme Court just dealt another blow to Republicans’ efforts there to undermine voting rights.
This most recent move deems unconstitutional the attempt to abolish the existing State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commissions and replace them with “bipartisan” versions of the same, in an attempt to prevent the new Democratic Governor from creating a Democratic majority in either case.
NC Republicans had passed this power grab shortly after GOP Gov. Pat McCrory lost reelection in 2016, costing the GOP its majority. A new Democratic majority could reverse McCrory's voter suppression like cuts to early voting & polling place closures in black neighborhoods #NCpol https://t.co/9KBt4uC4Nz
— Stephen Wolf (@PoliticsWolf) January 26, 2018
When Democrat Roy Cooper defeated Republican Pat McCrory for the governorship in 2016, the latter quickly moved to shore up Republican power in the state before his time was up.
McCrory changed the way the Elections and Ethics organizations run, stripping his successor of the power to name commissioners to each one, or more specifically – stripping Cooper of the power to name Democrats as commissioners. This was a last ditch effort to preserve a Republican majority in matters of ethics and voting rights.
North Carolina Republicans have had efforts similar to this repeatedly challenged by the state’s supreme court.
According to Mother Jones, courts have overturned 14 laws since 2011 passed by the Republican-run legislature. The Republicans’ redistricting maps were described as “among the largest racial gerrymanders ever encountered by a federal court.” Laws have also been struck down that strip teachers of tenure and target African Americans’ voting rights with what was described as “surgical precision.”
So this decision by the court to preserve Cooper’s power to appoint people to the State Board of elections is even more important. This is likely exactly what republicans were hoping to avoid. More Democrats on the Board means its more likely to be unfriendly to Republicans’ partisan, racist agenda.
This is a huge win for voting rights in a state that desperately needs it. Republicans in North Carolina are no doubt fuming about the decision and scheming on what to do next.