Governor Cooper vetoed judicial primary changes

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a NCGA provision eliminating next year’s judicial primaries.

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper

“This legislation abolishes a scheduled election and takes away the right of the people to vote for the judges of their choice,” Cooper said in a statement released with Monday’s veto.

“It is the first step toward a constitutional amendment that will rig the system so that the legislature picks everybody’s judges in every district instead of letting the people vote for the judges they want. 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.”

Sen. Ralph Hise, R-McDowell & Rutherford, said the legislature intends to reform the system, including the possibility of moving to judges being selected by a commission rather than elected. The legislation also changes the filing period for the judicial races moving it from February to June and raises the bar for a runoff. Candidates win the seat if they win at least 30 percent of the vote, down from the current 40 percent. Other sections of the bill reduces the state’s requirements for third party candidates to be added to ballots.

The legislation passed the House by one more vote than would be needed for an override.