Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes June primary election bill

Gov. Roy Cooper briefs media at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh. Photo via N.C. Dept. of Public Safety

RALEIGH — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday vetoed the General Assembly’s bill to move the state’s 2022 primary elections to June.

The bill, created to allow more time for the legislature to make any changes to the approved 2021 redistricting maps, would have moved the primary from a court-mandated May 17 date to June 7.

“This bill is an additional attempt by Republican legislators to control the election timeline and undermine the voting process. The constitutionality of congressional and legislative districts is now in the hands of the N.C. Supreme Court and the Court should have the opportunity to decide how much time is needed to ensure that our elections are constitutional,” Cooper said in a veto statement.

Legislators expressed concern that the turnaround time between a potential order to redraw districts and the new filing window, currently scheduled for late February, would be insufficient.

In a statement earlier this month, Senate Republicans said state law requires at least 14 days to draw new districts if existing ones are struck down by a court, but the N.C. Supreme Court’s case schedule provides as little as 12 days if the Supreme Court strikes down the current maps.

State Sen. Warren Daniel (R-Burke), one of the Senate Redistricting Committee co-chairs, said in a statement following the veto, “This commonsense legislation alleviated an unnecessarily constricted timeline for candidate filing and initiating the election process. It also made necessary changes to the municipal election timeline requested by the State Board of Elections. The party-line vote on House Bill 605 and Gov. Cooper’s veto lay bare what redistricting litigation really is — nothing more than a pure political power play.”