Strategies taking shape for NC amendments fight

Groups gear up for battle on this year’s six proposed constitutional changes

RALEIGH — With an unusually high number of constitutional changes on November’s ballot, there is a lot at stake for many groups and a lot of money being invested to sway the vote. The amendments cover issues as varied as voter ID, the right to hunt and fish, a state income tax cap, strengthening crime victims’ rights, and changes to both the state elections board and the process of filling judicial vacancies.

After strong pushback from all the state’s living former governors, the legislature made adjustments to the latter two. The governors, including both Republicans and Democrats, staged a joint press conference to protest what they felt were efforts to sway the balance of powers in the oversight of boards, commissions and the judiciary in those two amendments.

Referring to the Board of Elections and judicial vacancy bills opposed by the former governors, Pat McCrory told the North State Journal, “I’m very pleased with the changes. They were very positive. But I still just don’t think these two amendments were needed.”

Liberal activists have spent less effort trying to find areas of agreement and instead are going with a simpler message — “Nix All Six” — pushing a rejection all six amendments. The 501(c)(4) Stronger NC has raised $4,840 of their $10,000 goal on GoFundMe, and on they have a goal of raising $3,500 specifically for their “Nix All Six” campaign. Stronger NC has set up a website,, and has yard signs with the same message in place across the state.

McCrory, despite actively opposing two of the amendments, said he will be voting for the other four of six, and that with support from large majorities for voter ID and bipartisan backing of the victim’s rights bill “Marsy’s Law,” he saw those as legitimate ballot proposals.

“I don’t remember anyone running on these other issues,” McCrory said. “I do remember people running on voter ID though. Some of this is just legislative overreach. As I said in the press conference, have the courage to run for governor if you want those powers.”

McCrory said that during the election season, he and the other former governors were going to be “actively educating the public” on the two amendments they oppose.

The victims’ rights proposal, Marsy’s Law, has backing from billionaire businessman Henry Nicholas, founder of Broadcom Corp., who is pursuing the effort in multiple states. The bill is named after his sister, Marsy, who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend who then went on to harass the victim’s family. With $5 million from Nicholas, the Marsy’s Law for North Carolina organization is planning television, radio and other outreach to voters.

The NAACP initially pursued a legal challenge to the voter ID amendment, but with the courts eventually allowing ballots to be printed with that amendment present, the organization is likely to seek other methods of opposition. In addition, gun rights groups are likely to spend money to support the hunting and fishing amendment.

According to political insiders though, most of the spending for November is being focused on candidates rather than passage of the amendments. But with independent spending from multiple organizations, there will still be a lot of jostling before the vote.