[Image via bustle]
I’ve written several times over the years about the ongoing drama in North Carolina, where partisan battles over election administration have created uncertainty about who, exactly, is in charge of the state’s voting process. Now, as the Associated Press reports, new court rulings have raised the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ factor in the Tar Heel State:
Few things are certain about North Carolina’s 2018 elections, except that voters ultimately will choose members of Congress and the General Assembly and those for county positions.
A tangled web of legislation and litigation stretching to the state’s highest court and nation’s highest court has made it unclear how this year’s elections will be administered, even though candidate filing for some seats begins in two weeks.
There are several court cases and proposals that make murky the election calendar and its management…
Attorneys and legislators spent Monday studying the state Supreme Court ‘s Friday decision that said the Republican-controlled legislature went too far creating a combined state elections and ethics board.
In a 4-3 ruling, the justices wrote that the law prevented Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper from effectively executing election laws by forcing him to appoint half of the board from a list of candidates created by the state GOP .
The case returns in mid-February to a three-judge panel, which ultimately will determine how far the Supreme Court decision will affect the wider law creating the merged board. The majority ruling didn’t offer many specifics for those judges.
Speaking Monday to hundreds of election officials at a conference in Durham, state elections board lawyer Josh Lawson said attorneys in the case could argue the law must revert to what it was during the 2016 election, when there were separate boards and the governor appointed a majority of the election panel. Lawyers also could say the merged board can be retained in another form.
The merged state board has been vacant during the litigation, making it hard to settle municipal election challenges last year.
Add in two more court cases on appeal – one saying unconstitutional Congressional districts can be used one more time in 2018, and another saying new court-ordered state legislative districts must be – and it’s clear that lack of clarity is something that North Carolina will be facing for the foreseeable future.
How will it all shake out? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – and stay tuned …