North Carolina Voters Reject New Limits On Governor

(CN) – North Carolina voters on Tuesday rejected two proposed amendments to the state’s constitution that would have placed new limits on the governor’s power to make appointments.

Both measures — one would have revamped the state elections board, limiting the governor’s power to appoint its members; the other giving the legislature a larger role in picking candidates to fill judicial vacancies — were rejected by large margins.

Tomas Lopez, executive director of Democracy NC, told Courthouse News that these two amendments were misleading to voters as they appeared on the ballot, and if they had passed, would have tipped the balance of the state in favor of the legislature.

Four other proposed amendments: placing a cap on the state income tax, expanding crime victim rights, expanding protections for hunting and fishing, and imposing a Voter photo ID requirement at polls were approved by voters.

After voting absentee for years, Robert Knuth, 26, said he was excited to vote in person for the first time in Charlotte. But, he was weary of the process he went through just moments earlier, because he was not made to show his identification.

“What is stopping someone from just walking right in? Saying ‘hey, I’m so and so and I live at this address,” he said.

Knuth said the voter ID amendment, which he supports, would help eligible voters feel validated that their vote matters and that ‘they played a part in it all.’

In addition to the voter ID amendment, an amendment supporting ‘traditional” hunting practices and an amendment capping the income tax rate at 7 percent, North Carolina voters favored an amendment to ‘expand constitutional rights for crime victims’.

The victim’s rights initiative is known as Marsy’s Law, and only for this amendment, 9th District voter Democrat Thomika Macon voted ‘yes’.

When the alleged abuser of her close family member was released from jail, the victim was not informed until after he showed up at her doorstep, Macon said.

Marsy’s Law was one of the most publicized of the amendments and supporters say it will prevent experiences like that from occurring, ensuring that victims of crime will be informed before the perpetrator is released.

The problem with this amendment, says the ACLU, is its lack of clarity regarding implementation.

“We will closely monitor the implementation of Marsy’s Law in North Carolina in the months and years ahead, while working to minimize any harmful barriers this amendment may create toward ensuring justice for all,” Anderson says.

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