NC amendments: Voters reject 2, approve 4 including voter ID

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina voters approved four constitutional amendments and rejected two on Election Day.

Voters said no Tuesday to two amendments shifting power to legislators from the governor. Voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have permanently given state lawmakers more power over the makeup of a state board that decides election and ethics disputes.

The amendment rejected Tuesday by voters was designed by Republican legislators to create an eight-member Board of Elections and Ethics divided along party lines. Appointments to the board were traditionally overseen by the state’s governors before lawmakers began taking steps in the past two years to reduce the governor’s role in the process.

The amendment was opposed by all living governors, both Republican and Democrat.

Tuesday’s vote came after a legal battle between Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper over the board. The state Supreme Court struck down a 2017 law establishing a politically divided eight-member board because it took executive authority from governors.

A new constitutional amendment will require North Carolina voters to show a photo ID before being allowed to cast ballots, but legislators will decide later what will count as valid and what won’t.

A change to North Carolina’s constitution approved Tuesday adds the state to the handful in the country that strictly require showing a photo ID to a poll worker when voting.

Some of the states allow exceptions to the law if people have religious objections to being photographed, are poor, or are granted special confidentiality as domestic abuse or stalking victims. North Carolina lawmakers aren’t required to make any exceptions.

Legislators haven’t detailed how voters could get the photo ID needed to vote or how much it would cost the state.

Voters also approved constitutional amendments that will lock in recent state income tax cuts, expand crime victims’ rights and affirm so-called “traditional” methods of hunting and fishing.

An amendment to the state constitution approved on Tuesday caps the maximum state income tax at 7 percent, down from 10 percent. Critics said the result could mean that a recession could lead legislators to raise sales or property taxes or impose cutbacks on education, safety and other government services.

A constitutional change that would expand guarantees to crime victims was approved in exchange for a predicted cost of about $11 million per year.

North Carolinians also approved enshrining hunting and fishing with undefined “traditional methods,” but also limited those rights to take wildlife to laws the General Assembly adopts.

The six amendments Republican lawmakers submitted to voters filled the vacuum of having no races for governor or U.S. Senate. Groups for or against the amendments raised well over $20 million, according to campaign finance reports.

Cooper, the Democratic Party and allied groups pushed to defeat all six. The state GOP supported all six, but former Republican governors and the conservative Americans for Prosperity have come out against one or two individual amendments.

— CBS 17 contributed to this report

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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