Progress NC Action released the following statement on Tuesday in response to the House and Senate voting to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of House Bill 645, which cancels next year’s primary elections for judicial races:
“The Republican-controlled General Assembly’s contempt for democracy and the voters of North Carolina is astounding,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “This legislature was unconstitutionally elected using racially gerrymandered maps. Now lawmakers have just voted to cancel a democratic election in order to further rig the system to benefit the GOP. North Carolina voters should not tolerate this illegitimate legislature’s assault on democracy and judicial independence.”
As previously reported, H.B. 656 paves the way for the NCGOP to gerrymander the court system and eliminate judicial elections altogether — giving North Carolina voters zero say in the branch of government charged with upholding justice and democracy.
Under the Republican plan to rig the court system, which is strongly opposed by judges, lawyers, and North Carolina citizens alike, nearly half of all African-American judges in the state would be double-bunked — forced to either step down from the bench or run in another district to keep their seats.And nearly 40% of Democratic judges will be double-bunked in their new districts, compared to only 12% of Republican judges.
“This legislature was elected on unconstitutional maps which discriminated against minority voters, and it passed a monster voter suppression law which targeted minorities with ‘surgical precision,’ according to federal judges,” added Brenner. “Now that their racially gerrymandered maps and discriminatory voter suppression law have been struck down, Republican lawmakers are attacking our independent courts and the third pillar of our in order to remove the final barrier to their radical agenda.”