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Hearing Today to Determine Ballot Measures on November Ballot in NC

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A Wake County court could decide whether ballot measures to change the North Carolina constitution are allowed on the November ballot today. (Patrick Feller/flickr)
A Wake County court could decide whether ballot measures to change the North Carolina constitution are allowed on the November ballot today. (Patrick Feller/flickr)
August 7, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. – A Wake County Superior Court will hear a request Tuesday from Clean Air Carolina, Forward Justice and the North Carolina NAACP to prevent the state Legislature from placing four constitutional amendments on the November ballot.

The Southern Environmental Law Center is representing the groups in the lawsuit filed Monday. Their case argues that the amendments would impact voting rights, restructure the government and reduce the separation of state powers.

June Blotnick, the executive director of Clean Air Carolina, says the changes could further reduce environmental protections.

"For the last six or seven years, we've had to defend longstanding clean-air safeguards and the gutting of funding for state environmental programs," she says. "We filed this lawsuit to stop the supermajority in the Legislature from consolidating more power."

If the ballot measures are allowed and approved by voters this November, the power to fill judicial vacancies would shift from the governor to the Legislature and take away the governor's power to appoint people to executive office and determine their roles.

In a statement, Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, called this lawsuit "the most frivolous lawsuit of them all. These groups are advancing a completely spurious argument already rejected by the courts simply to score points against overwhelmingly popular amendments."

Supporters of the amendments say they're intended to improve the process of judicial vacancies and address voter fraud with the voter ID requirement.

State ballots for the November election are set to be finalized Wednesday. Blotnick says the language used in these proposed amendments could easily mislead voters.

"The ballot measures are something a lot of people don't even pay attention to," she warns. "The language that's proposed for these ballot measures is not very clear."

If additional power is shifted to the Legislature, critics say it could further reduce protections for offshore drilling, fracking and water contamination.

Groups such as the NC NAACP are concerned the constitutional changes could impact voting rights and reduce civil-rights protections in the state.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC