RALEIGH — The North Carolina Court of Appeals granted lawmakers’ motion to stay an order handed down by a three-judge panel that would permit some 55,000 felons not currently incarcerated to be able to vote in any election.
“The ‘Final Judgment and Order’ entered by a divided three-judge panel of Wake County Superior Court on 28 March 2022 is hereby stayed pending this Court’s ruling on the petition for writ of supersedeas,” the Court of Appeals order reads.
According to the stay order, the state’s Board of Elections “shall not order the denial of felon voter registration applications received pursuant to the ‘Final Judgment and Order’ but shall order such applications to be held and not acted on until further order of this Court,”
On March 28, a three-judge panel voted 2-1 to allow felons to vote. The order bypasses criteria in the state constitution prohibiting felons from voting “unless that person shall be first restored to the rights of citizenship in the manner prescribed by law.”
“This is an unrivaled attempt by judges to legislate from the bench,” Sen. Warren Daniel (R-Burke) said in a March 30 press statement. “Piece-by-piece the courts are chipping away at the legislature’s constitutional duty to set election policy in this state and seizing that authority for themselves.”
The N.C. State Board of Elections (NCSBE) has yet to act, citing an “imminent” appeal in a March 29 memo to county election officials directing them to not yet grant voter registrations for felons.
NCSBE Chairman Damon Circosta issued a statement following a closed session meeting on March 31. The statement said, in part, that “The Board voted unanimously to direct the Attorney General’s Office, the Board’s litigation counsel, to file a response as soon as possible to a pending motion to stay in that case. It will ask the court how to proceed under the trial court’s order.”