Raleigh, N.C. – Voters could establish a Bipartisan State Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement in the state constitution this fall under a proposal released by leaders of the North Carolina House of Representatives on Friday.
The proposal to permanently remove partisanship from elections administration and the enforcement of ethics and lobbying laws in North Carolina is modeled after the Federal Elections Commission. Under the proposed language, the Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Board would not consist of a majority of members from any one party. Unaffiliated citizens would be eligible for any spot on the board.
“The elections and ethics oversight process should not be partisan and this constitutional amendment protects the board’s impartiality in the strongest possible language,” said state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).
The bipartisan board would be the public watchdog for campaign finance and lobbying investigations to strengthen public confidence in the administration of ethics and elections laws in North Carolina.
“The fairness of North Carolina elections has never been on attack more than it is right now due to Governor Cooper’s egregious conduct regarding day to day control of our elections administration. While elections are inherently political, our state’s ethics and campaign finance watchdog should not be. Approval of this constitutional amendment will ensure that our elections system and our ethics laws will be governed by a fair and bipartisan board,” said Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), chairman of the House Committee on Elections and Ethics Law.
The proposal also prohibits state legislators from serving on boards and commissions and clarifies that the governor may not alter the powers and responsibilities of boards and commissions as established by the General Assembly.