N.C. Voters Lose Challenge to Amendment Process

     (CN) – Four North Carolina voters who challenged an allegedly misleading ballot proposal lost their appeal in the 4th Circuit, because they never claimed to have been misled by the proposed amendment to the state Constitution.

     The proposed amendment allowed local government entities to issue bonds for certain types of development projects without voter approval. The measure passed with 51.2 percent of the vote.
     The plaintiffs claimed the ballot contained only “an abbreviated summary with potentially misleading language” and “was misleading and insufficient to adequately apprise voters that, if passed, the amendment would deprive them of their constitutionally given right to approve or disapprove the issuance of bonds.”
     They said the amendment’s passage violated their due process rights under the 14th Amendment.
     The district court dismissed their case for lack of standing.
     Affirming that decision, the federal appeals court in Virginia pointed out that the voters never claimed to have been misled by the ballot language.
     “In fact, the plaintiffs later acknowledged that even though each of them had voted in the November 2004 election, none were misled by the ballot language,” Judge Gregory wrote.
     The 4th Circuit upheld dismissal of the case.

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