General Assembly Poised To Override Veto Of 'Electoral Freedom Act'

Oct 16, 2017

Credit North Carolina General Assembly

The North Carolina Senate will be in session for a vote tonight. The House will do the same Tuesday morning. The purpose is to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of legislation that makes significant changes to election law.

The last time they met, lawmakers passed a bill titled 'The Electoral Freedom Act.' This would help unaffiliated candidates and third parties by dropping the number of signatures they need to get on the ballot. It would also reduce the threshold a candidate needs to avoid a primary runoff.

Currently, a candidate needs to garner at least 40 percent of the vote to win. Under this bill, the requirement is 30 percent. These provisions are relatively uncontroversial among Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

This bill cancels next year's primary for judicial candidates, replacing it with a system in which the top vote-getters in a general election win outright. 

Critics, such as Cooper, says this is a ham-handed attempt by Republicans to oust Democratic judges.

"If the legislature doesn’t like the fact that judges are ruling many of their laws unconstitutional, they should change their ways instead of their judges," Cooper said when he vetoed the bill.

Rhetorical jabs aside, the North Carolina Senate is well poised to override this veto. The House, however, is a bit up in the air. It needs 72 votes to override the veto. The bill only received 70 when it passed, but four Republican Representatives did not record a vote.