North Carolina voters sent two of six constitutional amendments backed by the North Carolina General Assembly's Republican majority to defeat by wide margins.
One amendment would have transferred power to fill judicial vacancies from the governor's office to the legislature. The other amendment would have restructured the state ethics and elections board and given lawmakers the power to appoint its members.
The effort to defeat those two amendments received a big boost from a bi-partisan coalition of former North Carolina governors. Republicans Jim Martin and Pat McCrory joined forces with Democrats Jim Hunt, Mike Easley, and Bev Perdue to oppose the amendments. The ex-governors held press conferences and gave interviews in which they denounced the proposed amendments as nothing more than legislative power grabs and an assault on the separation of powers.
Voters approved an amendment to require a photo ID for in-person voting. How that amendment will take effect is anyone's guess. The legislature is scheduled to convene for a lame-duck session later this month to take up enabling legislation for the approved amendments.
A 2013 voter ID law passed by North Carolina's Republican majority in the General Assembly was struck down by a federal court for targeting African-American communities with "almost surgical precision."
Voters approved three other amendment proposals by wide margins. One amendment will lower the cap on North Carolina's personal and corporate income tax from 10 percent to 7 percent.
Another amendment expanded crime victims' rights by giving them the right to be heard at any court proceeding in their case and to receive restitution in a timely manner, and by guaranteeing enforcement of their rights.
The fourth amendment approved by voters preserves hunting and fishing as a way of life in North Carolina.