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Democracy NC Files Amicus Brief Opposing Elections Board Law

Democracy North Carolina and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law filed an amicus brief on August 3 with the North Carolina Supreme Court in Cooper v. Berger, challenging a new law — Senate Bill 68 —  that blocks the Governor’s party from holding the majority of seats on state and county boards of elections. SB68 also blocks replacement of the Republican-appointed State Board of Elections’ executive director and says Republicans must chair all elections boards in presidential and gubernatorial election years.

According to the brief, SB68  is designed to entrench the Republican Party’s control over North Carolina’s electoral system despite its defeat in the 2016 gubernatorial election. The two voting rights groups say the law clashes with bedrock principles in the U.S. and North Carolina constitutions that courts have used to protect the will of the people against political entrenchment.

“The General Assembly’s bold move is part of a series of actions that seem aimed at ruining fair elections in our state.” –Bob Hall, Democracy North Carolina

“The General Assembly’s bold move is part of a series of actions that seem aimed at ruining fair elections in our state. Like their biased political districts and voting restrictions, the Republican plan to create gridlock if they can’t control election boards should be declared unconstitutional,” said Bob Hall, Executive Director of Democracy North Carolina. “Democrats have also manipulated the political process in the past, but that’s no defense. ‘We the people’ deserve a political system in which elected leaders from every party must respect the will of voters expressed through fair elections.”

“What the North Carolina legislature has done undermines a key principle of our constitutional democracy: A temporary majority should not be able to manipulate the rules to entrench a permanent advantage, regardless of what the voters decide,” said Wendy Weiser, Director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “This principle must be reaffirmed, not only for the sake of North Carolina’s citizens, but for the whole the country.”

“The General Assembly’s reorganization of North Carolina’s electoral machinery is no ordinary encroachment by one branch of government on another,” said Daniel I. Weiner, Senior Counsel at the Brennan Center, “but the centerpiece of a blatant effort to entrench one political party in power. Where other branches are unwilling or unable to fulfill their duty to safeguard the people’s interest in representative government, the courts must step in.”

The brief was filed with the assistance of Andrew H. Erteschik, a partner in the Raleigh office of Poyner Spruill, LLP.

Read the full amicus brief.  View the Brennan Center’s case page on Cooper v. Berger.

To speak with an expert, contact Naren Daniel at 646-292-8381 or