House Bill 100 restores party affiliation being listed on the ballot for judge races.
The bill passed the House the first time around 65-51. The Senate made a few changes and the measure passed 32-15.
The House took up the Senate’s changes and produced a veto-proof majority with the final vote standing at 74-43. The House vote was almost totally down part lines with only two Democrats voting in favor.
In the accompanying veto letter to the General Assembly, Cooper wrote, “North Carolina wants its judges to be fair and impartial, and partisan politics has no place on the judges’ bench. We need less politics in the courtroom, not more.”
Today, Governor Cooper vetoed his first bill: “We need less politics in the courtroom, not more.” https://t.co/niHuCxfz4F
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) March 16, 2017
Cooper’s statement also said that, “I am also concerned that judges who have chosen to register as unaffiliated voters so as to avoid partisan politics now have a difficult path to getting on the ballot.”
Speaker Leader Phil Berger fired back in a statement on Twitter.
“If the Governor believes ‘partisan politics has no place on the judges’ bench’, he should stop suing the legislature when he loses political battles.”
The statement continued,”In the 2016 election, almost 800,000 fewer North Carolinaians voted in the Supreme Court race than in the presidential race because they did not have enough information about the judicial candidates. Surely, Governor Cooper does not wish to suppress voter turnout in our judicial races.”
“The number of ballots cast in judicial races dropped massively as a result of Democrat lobbying and legislation which prevents voters from information regarding which political party judicial candidates have chosen to affiliate with. I have full confidence that Republicans will right this wrong and increase the transparency in judicial elections, despite Governor Cooper’s desire to keep participation low for the narrow political purposes of his Democrats,” wrote NC GOP chairman Robin Hayes in a press release.
Update 3/23/17: The Senate followed the House in successfully overriding Governor Cooper’s first veto.
Cooper's first Veto is overridden.
— A.P. Dillon (@APDillon_) March 23, 2017