Raleigh, N.C. – The North Carolina House of Representatives approved its 10th veto override of Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday, passing legislation that expands ballot access for more political parties and independent candidates in several statewide and local elections.
Senate Bill 656 Electoral Freedom Act of 2017 lowers the percentage of states in which a party was included on the general election ballot to establish party recognition in North Carolina. It also reduces the number of signatures required on petitions for many unaffiliated candidates to be included on the general election ballot.
“North Carolina is making it easier for candidates and parties to seek elected office, increasing ballot access to offer more options for voters,” said House Speaker Tim Moore.
“For unaffiliated candidates, the fastest growing segment of registered voters, we are relieving a major hurdle for their ability to participate in many statewide and local elections.”
The Electoral Freedom Act of 2017 further lowers the percentage of votes required to avoid a runoff in primaries from 40% to 30%. This will reduce costs to help candidates, voters and taxpayers make the election system more efficient.
“The Electoral Freedom Act will make our election system more efficient, saving counties and candidates time and money by reducing the need for low-turnout runoffs in primaries.”
Finally, the Electoral Freedom Act of 2017 gives judicial candidates in 2018 flexibility to analyze potential redistricting changes that passed the House in October. The legislation eliminates primaries for all judicial offices in 2018 to accommodate the potential for new election maps and ensure consistent treatment of all candidates seeking judicial office.
“The North Carolina House is carefully implementing changes to judicial districts, giving candidates for the court more certainty and fairness as they analyze changes to the elections process,” Moore said.
“The House is responding to input from court officials by allowing judicial candidates time to fully consider the impact of potential redistricting before deciding whether or not to file.”