Governor Roy Cooper (D) vetoed two bills from Aug. 21-27. The two bills are below:
- Cooper vetoed S747, an act to make various changes regarding election laws. The bill encompassed a range of modifications, from administrative requirements and adjusted deadlines to protocols concerning polling observers, mail-in ballots, and same-day registration.
- In his veto message, Cooper said, “This legislation has nothing to do with election security and everything to do with Republicans keeping and gaining power. In working to erect new barriers for younger and non-white voters, many of whom use early voting and absentee ballots, this bill also hurts older adults, rural voters and people with disabilities. It requires valid votes to be tossed out if the post office delivers them even one minute after 7:30 p.m. on Election Day or if a computer rejects a signature. It encourages voter intimidation at the polls by election deniers and conspiracy believers. North Carolina has conducted fair and secure elections but this bill will block voters and their ballots unnecessarily.”
- Sen. Warren Daniel (R), one of the bill’s sponsors, said, “We are creating a secure election system that makes it easy to vote and protects election integrity … But Gov. Cooper wants his handpicked partisans running our elections and he apparently feels threatened by North Carolinians observing what happens in their polling places.”
- The North Carolina House of Representatives voted 69-47 to approve the bill on Aug. 16. The North Carolina State Senate voted 27-18 to approve the bill on the same day. Sens. Warren Daniel (R), Ralph Hise (R), and Paul Newton (R) introduced the bill on June 1, 2023.
- Cooper also vetoed S512, an act to “amend the compositions of and appointments to” public boards and commissions. The bill would have shifted the authority to make appointments for several governing boards from the governor to the legislature or other executive positions.
- In his veto message, Cooper said, “This legislation will hurt the effective and efficient use of taxpayer money by impairing the Governor’s constitutionally required duty to execute the laws passed by the legislature. The bill interrupts the critical work of boards and commissions to protect public health, provide clean air and water, recruit new jobs, lower electric bills and more. Fundamentally it violates the separation of powers enshrined in the state Constitution. The courts have consistently rejected these legislative power grabs in McCrory v. Berger and other cases. Legislative efforts to seize executive power are unconstitutional and damage vital state work.”
- Sen. Warren Daniel (R), one of the bill’s sponsors, said, “Governor Cooper has taken advantage of his appointment power by choosing members with no regard for the diverse makeup of our state … The legislature is the elected body closest to the people of North Carolina and has the ability to recruit a qualified, diverse roster of appointees. Senate Bill 512 balances appointment power between the legislative and executive branches and brings better representation to North Carolina’s boards and commissions.”
- The North Carolina House of Representatives voted 72-47 to approve the bill on Aug. 16. The North Carolina State Senate voted 27-18 to approve the bill on the same day. Sens. Phil Berger (R), Warren Daniel (R), and Bill Rabon (R) introduced the bill on April 3, 2023.
Overriding a gubernatorial veto requires a three-fifths vote from both chambers of the legislature. North Carolina is one of seven states to require a three-fifths majority.
There are currently two active vetoes in North Carolina in 2023. This count does not include vetoes that have been overturned by the legislature. During the week of Aug. 21-27, the nation’s governors vetoed three bills. Cooper vetoed the most with two. A Democratic governor issued two of the three vetoes, while a Republican governor issued one.
Cooper has served as governor since Jan. 1, 2017. He successfully vetoed six bills in 2022. There are currently 535 active vetoes nationwide in 2023. This count does not include vetoes that have been overturned by state legislatures. Republican governors issued 270, while Democratic governors issued 265. North Carolina is a divided government, meaning neither party holds trifecta control.