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NC governor vetos controversial bill

THU.| 11-30-23 | OPINION

Opinion Co-Editor JACK ALBRITTON

     With state and national elections approaching in the following year, government officials have begun pushing more and more legislation to perfect the voting process. In North Carolina, Senate Bill 749 was introduced on Sept. 22, in an effort to make sure election boards are bipartisan, but the bill was recently vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper.

     For some context, election boards are composed of trusted members appointed by the Governor or President who are expected to assist people in the voting process and fairly conduct elections. Because they are appointed by the head executive each year, there is an inherent bias in election boards towards the party the Governor aligns themselves with. To solve this problem, Republican legislators introduced Senate Bill 749, which states that each election board will be composed of an equal number of Republicans, Democrats and minority party owners.

roy booper.jpg

Graphic by David Given

     This bill seems to be an effective way to bring more bipartisan election boards. Cooper’s choice to veto this bill is honestly surprising from a voter perspective, and it paints a bad image of Cooper for not striving for a fair voting system. 

     In his veto message Cooper described the bill as a “serious threat to our democracy, particularly after the nation just saw a presidential candidate try to strongarm state officials into reversing his losing election result.” In this quote, Cooper is referring to the governmental turmoil caused by the Jan. 6th insurrection as a result of Donald Trump’s loss in the last presidential election. While I certainly agree that this incident should not be repeated, I don’t see how this issue relates to the content of Senate Bill 749. If anything, this bill will help ensure that each election is completely fair and non-partisan.

     I believe that Cooper’s decision to veto this bill primarily stems from how separated our political parties have become across the country. In the last decade, politicians have become more and more distant from each other in terms of political alignment, resulting in a greater need for each party to hold majority power in office. If Cooper were to pass this bill, then the Democrats would lose a substantial amount of influence on next year's election, especially considering that Senate Bill 749 was introduced by Republicans.

     Regardless of political affiliation, I believe that Senate Bill 749 is a reasonable solution to partisanship in election boards. Even with Cooper's decision to veto, there is still a likely chance that it will be overruled by Congress, which would be the most beneficial outcome to voters across North Carolina.

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