A bipartisan panel of three judges in North Carolina ruled that a Republican-led effort in the state legislature to restructure state and county election boards is unconstitutional.

Their ruling, which contained no dissent, leaves in place the current makeup of the state election board, which has three Democratic members and two Republican members.

Representatives for the Republican-led legislature on Tuesday did not indicate whether they would appeal the decision.

The legislation, passed by the Republican supermajority last year, would have upended the balance of state and county election boards in the state, creating an eight-member state election board with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans appointed to the board by the state legislature. County election boards would be set up for similar stalemates.

Under current law, the state’s governor appoints the members of the five-person state election board. The process for county election boards, which currently have five members, is more complex, but the governor appoints the chairs.

Election experts and Democrats, including Gov. Roy Cooper, contended that the bill would lead to deadlock on many key election issues.

The three-judge panel, made up of two Republicans and one Democrat, called the effort a “stark and blatant removal of appointment power from the governor” and said that it “infringes upon the governor’s constitutional duties.”

Republicans who support the law have a shrinking window to appeal the decision in time for the 2024 elections, and will most likely have to go to the state Supreme Court if they want to have a decision in place before November.


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Credit: NYTimes.com

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