From the desk of Joel Ford: Regarding the November 2018 Election
By JOEL FORD
As you all may know, the general election will be coming up in November. There are several critical points to be aware of as you prepare to vote at your respective polling location.
The 2018 General election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 with ALL polling locations opening 6:30 am until 7:30 pm. One stop early voting begins on Wednesday, October 17 and ends on Friday, November 2, 2018.
Registering to vote is essential to your involvement in the political process. Those who are not registered can print off a voter registration form from the NC Board of Elections website and either fax, mail or drop it off in person to the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections. Aspiring voters can also complete forms at the office or seek out a voter registration drive. Those who have previously registered to vote but have moved since then should complete a voter registration form to update their registration to their current address. Here is a link to the printable form https://goo.gl/KtUaM8. The voter registration deadline for the November election is Friday, October 12, 2018 at 5 p.m.
For many constituents, there is some confusion surrounding the proposed constitutional amendment Senate Bill 814 that needs clarification. The state constitution allows for voters to select state supreme court justices, appellate and superior judges which are allotted eight-year terms, and district judges which are allotted four-year terms. If a justice or judge does not fulfill his or her full term, the constitution then gives the governor the authority to nominate candidates for judgeships then the General Assembly gives final confirmation. The proposed amendment would change the judicial selection process by allowing the North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice to appoint a person to fill a vacancy; however, other vacancies must be nominated based on merit. The nominations will be conducted by the "Nonpartisan Judicial Merit Commission" which is also created under Senate Bill 814. Once the nominee is presented within 10 days, the governor must appoint a nominee from the Commission's selection. If the Governor does not make a decision in the allotted time, the General Assembly will make the selection to fill the vacancy. The proposed amendment will not allow for the governor or the General Assembly to appoint a person to fill a vacancy after an election to fill a judicial seat. If this amendment wins favor, it will take effect on January 1, 2019.
Below is a list that details all of the proposed North Carolina Constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot in November. I want voters to feel empowered to make their own decisions through voting. This chart is for information and will assist voters with making a more informed decision about each constitutional amendment.
NC Constitutional Amendments on the November 2018 Ballot:
1. House Bill 1092 Const. Amendment - Require Photo ID to Vote seeks to place a voter ID requirement in the constitution effective January 1, 2019 if passed voters DO NOT have to present ID in the November 2018 election.
2. Senate Bill 75: Max Income Tax Rate of 7.0% set the maximum income tax rate at 7% the rate is currently at 10% current rate for personal incomes: 5.499%, current rate for corporations: 3% effective January 1, 2019, if passed.
3. Senate Bill 677: Protect Right to Hunt and Fish places language in the NC constitution that explicitly protects the right to fish and hunt if enacted, NC would be the 22nd state to have this in their constitution.
4. House Bill 551 Strengthening Victims’ Rights (Marsy’s Law); provides victims of crimes with more rights and expands the offences that trigger victims’ rights effective August 31, 2019, if passed.
5. Senate Bill 814 Judicial Vacancy Sunshine Amendment - creates a nonpartisan judicial merit commissions that will nominate & recommend candidates to fill vacancies for unexpired terms effective January 1, 2019 if passed.
6. House Bill 913 Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Enforcement - will establish an 8 member board appointed by the General Assembly effective March 1, 2019 if passed.
The following committees working on the aforementioned Bills: Commerce & Insurance, Finance, Joint Committee on Judicial Reform & Redistricting, Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight, Rules & Operations of the Senate, Select Committee on Nominations, and Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee.