*Anita Earls postcards are gone, thanks for the great response and get writing! Important info about absentee voting, especially if you're in an area affected by the hurricane; more about post-hurricane voting here. Stamp NC Blue supports the progressive values of Democratic candidates. This week, we're focusing on the six proposed amendments to the NC Constitution, starting with some background.

As the May/June short session ended, the leadership at the NC General Assembly quickly passed six constitutional amendments (CAs) that will appear on the November election ballot. We have to infer the underlying rationales for this unusual flurry of CAs:

  • Many observers believe it's an effort to rouse the Republican base to get to the polls during a mid-term election that typically has low voter turn-out. Of course, this could also serve to mobilize voters who object to the CAs.
  • Some of the CAs are "work-arounds" to statutes that would likely go to straight to court if passed (i.e., photo ID, legislative supremacy, judicial vacancy selection); CAs, taken as more directly reflecting "the will of the voters," are harder for courts to overturn.
  • If the predictions of pollsters and pundits come true this fall, the Republicans will lose their supermajority control of NCGA in one or both houses, which means their power to override gubernatorial vetoes and amend the constitution (both of which require 3/5 votes) will be reduced, along with their power to enact laws opposed by Democrats.

The results of a recent poll by Elon University show that 44% of voters don't know that constitutional amendments will be on the ballot this fall and 2/3 of them knew nothing or very little about what they were. It also shows that support for two of the amendments (photo ID and tax cap) changed when voters were given the full, official explanations of the amendments in addition to the brief text that will be on the ballot.

The NCGA already plans a special session in November after the election during which they hope to "fill in the blanks" (draft implementing language) of the CAs they hope voters will pass and possibly act on additional bills that would be less likely to pass in 2019, when the newly elected houses convene. Gerry Cohen, former Director of Legislative Drafting at the NCGA notes, "... five will actually require legislative language as to how they will be implemented. With the General Assembly adjourned until after the election, voters will be deciding the issues without that language in place." "Cohen says that’s extremely unusual. Of the last 16 constitutional amendments put before the state’s voters, 13 had implementing language in the bills that placed them on the ballot or in bills passed prior to the referendum. Of the remaining three, two either didn’t need the language or repeated statutes already on the books." NC Policy Watch.

Stamp NC Blue believes that our state's Constitution should not be needlessly changed based on the partisan whims of an unconstitutional supermajority, especially when the reason behind the changes are to boost one party’s electoral chances. Constitutional changes should be made after careful, thoughtful deliberation and public input. Instead, Republicans are pushing through amendments that may undermine the future of our state and the rights of its citizens because they're afraid of what's headed their way in November.

Voters will need to go to the bottom of the two-page ballot to vote on the constitutional amendments!

Read more about the background of these amendments (links below) and follow us all week as we examine them individually.
Plain View
Durham Democrats
Democracy NC
NC Policy Watch
Longleaf Politics

Download or print and SHARE brief descriptions of the amendments and what they really mean:
You Can Vote (non-partisan)
Democracy NC (non-partisan)
Nix All Six downloads, social media shares, postcards to print and mail


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