Constitutional amendments on ballot confusing for some, clear to others

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —  Six amendments to the North Carolina Constituion are on the ballot for voters.

They include topics like hunting, taxes, all the way to judges, and that’s only half of the topics state lawmakers tasked voters to decide on.

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It’s no secret getting voters to turnout in a midterm election year is not easy. 2014 was the highest turnout in 12 years, but at less than 45 percent. Maybe that’s the reason so many amendments sit on the ballot.

“I don’t feel that there has been an adequate explanation about what those amendments mean or how important they are,” said elections committee chair Gail Bromley with the League of Women Voters of the Lower Cape Fear.

That’s why Bromley and the League of Women Voters filled a room Monday to discuss the amendments.

“The descriptors that are on the ballot are not helping the voter make an informed decision,” Bromley said.

You can go to the NC Board of Elections website to see a detailed layout of each amendment.

Here’s a list of the amendments:

The League opposes the ID amendment.

“We think that disenfranchises voters and voter fraud is a non-existent problem,” Bromley said.

It’s something Republican voters want addressed.

“I think it would just prevent a lot of fraudulent voting. And it’s not a question of people not having access to Ids, because they’re going to be provided to people who can’t afford them,” said Norm Gopsill with the Pender County GOP Party.

The final two amendments have struck a political chord.

Lawmakers want the power to select judges for the governor to appoint when vacancies open up in non election years.

This is the amendment you will see on the ballot:

“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.”

Lawmakers also want voters to decide to cut the bipartisan Board of Elections down from nine to eight to keep it an even four Republicans and four Democrats.

This is how that amendment reads on the ballot:

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

Gopsill supports the judicial nomination change as does the majority of Cape Fear GOP county parties.

“I think it’s a simple process, similar to you know the (US) Supreme Court justic. The president has a nominee, and then it has to be vetted. We’re just doing it in reverse,” Gopsill said.