Monday numbers: A closer look at the constitutional amendments that will confront NC voters in November

Monday numbers: A closer look at the constitutional amendments that will confront NC voters in November

6 – number of proposed constitutional amendments placed on the November ballot by GOP legislative majorities during the final five days of the 2018 legislative session

11 – number of amendments passed by the General Assembly and sent to North Carolina voters in the previous 33 years (N.C. Secretary of State – “Amendments to the current NC Constitution”)

32 – number of amendments approved by voters to the current state constitution since it went into effect in 1971 (ibid.)

7 – number rejected by voters during that same period (ibid.)

At least 2 – number of voter decisions in the past 50 years that were subsequently determined to violate the U.S. Constitution (the 1969 vote to retain literacy tests for voting and the 2012 vote to bar same-sex marriage) (ibid.)

5 – of the six amendments passed by lawmakers in 2018, the number that lack implementing language that would allow voters to know precisely what they are voting on (the sixth – which simply lowers the cap on the state income tax requires no such language) (Gerry Cohen, Director of Legislative Drafting at the General Assembly for 30 years in an interview last week with Policy Watch reporter Joe Killian)

1 – of the previous 16 amendments sent to voters, the number that lacked such language (ibid.)

Nearly 100 – percentage chance that passage of the five amendments without such language will give rise to litigation regarding the terms of legislation enacted subsequently

2 – of the six proposed amendments in 2018, the number that would transfer powers of the Governor to the General Assembly (www.ncleg.net)

0 – number of times since the enactment of the 1971 constitution that voters have approved such transfers (N.C. Secretary of State – “Amendments to the current NC Constitution”)

Near the bottom – position that North Carolina Governor’s office is already consistently ranked among the 50 states in terms of how much power is delegated to it (multiple political scientists and observers)

3 – Of the states with voter ID laws, the number that have actually enshrined them in their state constitutions as one proposed amendment would do (“Round-up: NCGA discusses four constitutional amendments — hunting and fishing, voter ID, victims’ rights, legislative appointment of judges” – www.ncpolicywatch.com)

$30 million – estimated annual cost that proposed amendment known as “Marsy’s Law” will cost the state if enacted (“PW exclusive: Previously undisclosed fiscal note says victims’ rights constitutional amendment could cost state millions” – www.ncpolicywatch.com)

0 – number of genuine threats that currently exist in North Carolina to the right to hunt and fish

2 – number of years since North Carolina enacted a new law specifying that the state Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission must “prepare an explanation of [each] amendment…to be used on the ballot and the printed summary.” (North Carolina Session Law 2016-109)

3 – number of Commission members (Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Attorney General Josh Stein, and Legislative Services Officer, Paul Coble). (N.C.G.S. 147-54.8)

75 – number of days prior to the November 6 election that the explanation must be finalized (in 2018, that will be Thursday, August 23) (ibid.)

Nearly 100 – percentage chance that the captions and explanations prepared by the Commission will be clearer and less misleading than the titles affixed to the amendments by the General Assembly (see interview with Gerry Cohen referenced above)