NCVCE Statement on SB 656: State lawmakers to further erode NC's democracy with plan to end judicial primaries

Legislation now under consideration in NC House would end the 2018 primary elections of judges and set the table for a scheme to have legislature appoint their own judges and weaken independence of third branch of government

RALEIGH - Legislation (Senate Bill 656) being considered by the N.C. House of Representatives would end primary elections of state judges beginning in 2018 and sets the stage for legislative plans to eliminate judicial elections altogether. Senate Republicans have hinted at their own plans to push for a constitutional amendment that would allow the legislature to appoint judges moving forward. 

"This craven attack on our courts from all conceivable sides illustrates how far an illegally-constituted legislature will go to maintain power and influence," said Melissa Price Kromm, executive director of North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections. "The same legislature that has gerrymandered themselves into safe districts is now working to eliminate opportunities for voters to make their voices heard on other branches of government."

“From a practical standpoint, ending judicial primaries will lead to chaotic ballots with a laundry list of judicial candidates that will be difficult for voters to navigate.  Voters deserve more choices and more say in their democracy, and a legislature that is already illegitimately gerrymandered should have no standing to further weaken the voice of voters."

Kromm added, "North Carolina voters deserve more say in their democracy — not less — and a legislature that is already illegitimately gerrymandered should have no standing to further weaken our voices."