Nix All 6

On Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2018, those who care about criminal justice reform should vote AGAINST the six proposed amendments to the North Carolina constitution.

Why is This Happening?

On Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2018, six constitutional amendments to the North Carolina constitution will be on the ballot. In the last 20 years, North Carolina has only voted on 7 constitutional amendments. In the past 47 years, only 10 amendments have been added to the NC constitution.

North Carolina’s lawmakers have rushed these amendments to the ballot.  Lawmakers are trying to add six amendments in one year. This is unheard of and an attack on democracy. The current lawmakers are using this process to make dramatic changes to your life as a North Carolinian that will last far past their tenure in government.

If these six amendments all pass, it will have a major impact on your daily life in North Carolina, especially for members of the justice-involved community.

What is the North Carolina Constitution? 

The Constitution of the State of North Carolina governs the structure and function of the state government of North Carolina.  It limits government, protects rights, and sets state policy.

How Does an Amendment Get Added?

The majority of people in North Carolina have to vote in support of an amendment before the constitution of North Carolina can be changed. YOU have the power to stop changes to North Carolina’s constitution.  

It is critical that you vote AGAINST all amendments in November.

Q

Amendment #1: Right to Hunt, Fish, and Harvest Wildlife

What you’ll see on the ballot, and how you should mark it:

[ ] FOR [ X ] AGAINST
Constitutional amendment protecting the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.

Why you should vote AGAINST this amendment:

This amendment is a charade. No rights to hunt and fish are currently being threatened. The amendment’s language comes from a template suggested by the National Rifle Association. If passed, this amendment could restrict Sunday hunting laws and can result in “traditional” hunting to allow trapping, poisoning, and other cruel death to wildlife. 

Q

Amendment #2: Rights of Victims of Crime

What you’ll see on the ballot, and how you should mark it:

[ ] FOR [ X ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.

Why you should vote AGAINST this amendment:

North Carolina already has a victim’s rights Constitutional amendment, so this amendment is unnecessary. Worse, in states where this amendment has passed, county courts have noticed sharp increases in administrative costs and time. A report from the Administrative Office of the Courts, reported by N.C. Policy Watch, pegs the cost of this amendment at $30.5 million per year, paid by you as a North Carolina taxpayer. Such a huge cost could create funding shortfalls for implementing other important legislation like Raise the Age.  Additionally, this amendment could result in victims receiving sensitive information about juvenile cases without any restriction on how they may use it or publicly disclose it.

Q

Amendment #3: Bipartisan State Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement

What you’ll see on the ballot, and how you should mark it:

[ ] FOR [ X ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment to establish an eight-member Bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement in the Constitution to administer ethics and elections law.

Why you should vote AGAINST this amendment:

This amendment is a power grab by legislators that will take hundreds of important appointments away from the Executive Branch – powers the Executive Branch has had for over 47 years.  This amendment reduces the number of members on the Board of Ethics and Elections – the very board that ensures fair and free elections in North Carolina. The number of members on the board would drop from nine to eight and be divided evenly between the two major parties, leaving out representation for unaffiliated voters and smaller parties, and ensuring claims are dismissed more often due to tie votes. Legislative leaders would appoint all of the members of the board and the governor would appoint none. In short, this amendment will make legislative supremacy the constitutional law of this state.

Q

Amendment #4: Selection for Judicial Vacancies

What you’ll see on the ballot, and how you should mark it:

[ ] FOR [ X ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment to change the process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the Governor has sole appointment power to a process in which the people of the State nominate individuals to fill vacancies by way of a commission comprised of appointees made by the judicial, executive, and legislative branches charged with making recommendations to the legislature as to which nominees are deemed qualified; then the legislature will recommend at least two nominees to the Governor via legislative action not subject to gubernatorial veto; and the Governor will appoint judges from among these nominees.

Why you should vote AGAINST this amendment:

Under our current law, the Governor (elected statewide by a majority of voters) is bestowed with the authority to appoint judges to judicial vacancies. This proposed Constitutional amendment strips the Governor of that power and puts it in the hands and control of a few legislators in what they are calling a “merit commission,” elected only by voters in their home districts. This is a legislative power grab that will result in a partisan selection of judges. Additionally, our justice system could become even more overburdened by shortage of judges, moving trial dates further out and keeping people in jail longer as they wait. With this amendment, newly-appointed judges would serve twice as long without standing for election. Passage of this amendment would allow the current legislature to “pack” the NC Supreme Court by adding two extra seats and appointing their whomever they want to those seats, upsetting the current elected balance on the court in favor of their agenda.

Q

Amendment #5: Cap On Income Tax Rate

What you’ll see on the ballot, and how you should mark it:

[ ] FOR [ X ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment to reduce the income tax rate in North Carolina to a maximum allowable rate of seven percent (7%).

Why you should vote AGAINST this amendment:

This proposed amendment ties the hands of future legislators to adjust for unforeseen consequences of a recession or natural disasters like hurricanes. No one wants tax increases, but this amendment would benefit only the most wealthy citizens while cutting public services for education, transportation, and infrastructure. If a constitutional tax cap is imposed, local governments will likely have to raise your property taxes, service fees and sales taxes – all of which disproportionately affect middle- and low-income families more than wealthy ones.

Q

Amendment #6: Voter ID

What you’ll see on the ballot, and how you should mark it:

[ ] FOR [ X ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting in person.

Why you should vote AGAINST this amendment:

Pure and simple – this is voter suppression. We know from statistics and court decisions that the majority of people who have difficulty providing photo ID at the polls are seniors, people of color, and women. This amendment would make it much harder for them to vote in North Carolina, permanently. Worse, the legislators that introduced this amendment have not defined what would be acceptable forms of photo identification (i.e., military ID, student ID) and to date, there are no plans to provide free photo ID. In 2016, only 3 incidents of voter fraud were alleged out of 3 million voters voting. Voter fraud is NOT currently a problem in North Carolina and does not need to be prevented by an amendment created to suppress voters.

Stay Informed

This information was provided for you the Carolina Justice Policy Center, whose mission is to actively respond to issues affecting justice-involved citizens. Join our list today to stay up-to-date on our focus areas, including mass incarceration, police accountability, ending the death penalty, voter education, and raising the age.