Our view: We understand elected leaders are loyal to their party and its mission. But there is a time for politics and there is a time for our elected leaders to put aside politics. When it comes to putting constitutional amendments on our state ballots, the goal should be making the meaning of each amendment as plain as possible to the voter.
Why we believe that: This week, House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, raised questions about a commission responsible for writing introductions to the six constitutional amendments being prepared for a state ballot.
A press release from Moore’s office states: State lawmakers already provided short titles and ballot questions for the six constitutional amendments that clearly and concisely describe the proposals. Opposition to the proposals, however, is fueling political influence on the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission charged with accurately describing the questions with apolitical captions for voters.
The commission, as far as we can tell, has not produced a draft of the introductions. So, there’s no way to know if that phrases will meet the acceptance of the Republican-led General Assembly. And there is no way to know if the words are politically influenced.
Is it a surprise that commission is chaired by a Democrat and has a Democrat majority? And is it any surprise that the Republican leadership is questioning the arrangement?
The six amendments, including one to require a photo ID to vote, are going on the ballot. That’s decided. The fuss is about how that is phrased.
“The General Assembly already approved short titles of the constitutional amendments that accurately describe their impact,” Moore said, “and must prevent outside attempts to politicize what should be a quick and straightforward administrative process by the commission.”
So, our state lawmakers are gathering again in Raleigh to hash out the conflict -- just a handful of days after they adjourned.
In conclusion: Frankly, it’s hard not to be disappointed by both parties on this one. Instead of fighting among themselves, the Democrats and Republicans should craft a ballot message that can be read and understood by all constituents. Sometimes, it seems, both sides forget they are in Raleigh on our behalf, not their own.