The North Carolina General Assembly successfully overrode Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of several Republican-backed election bills on Tuesday, marking a major win for activists concerned about the integrity of the state’s electoral system.
Upon their passage by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature within the past two months, SB 747 and SB 749 were promptly vetoed by Cooper. When announcing his veto of SB 747, the Democrat governor baselessly accused state Republicans of orchestrating “an all-out assault on the right to vote” and falsely claimed their legislation makes it “harder for [residents] to vote” and encourages “voter intimidation.”
Contrary to Cooper’s unsubstantiated accusations, SB 747 includes numerous provisions strengthening the integrity of North Carolina’s elections system. Among the changes to state law are requirements that election records be retained for 22 months after an election and all mail-in ballots be received by the time polls close on Election Day. The bill additionally bans the acceptance and use of private money, or “Zuckbucks,” in elections and mandates a process for removing noncitizens from voter rolls.
During the 2020 election, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave hundreds of millions of dollars to nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which in turn poured these “Zuckbucks” into local election offices in battleground states around the country, changing how elections were administered. The funds were ultimately used to expand unsupervised election protocols like mail-in voting and the use of ballot drop boxes. To make matters worse, these grants were heavily skewed toward Democrat-majority counties, essentially making it a massive, privately funded Democrat get-out-the-vote operation.
SB 747 does have its flaws, however. Included in the measure is a section prohibiting political parties from closing their primary elections to unaffiliated voters, which guarantees unaffiliated voters the ability to influence the outcome of party elections. During a previous interview with The Federalist, Jim Womack, the president of the North Carolina Election Integrity Team, detailed how the large number of unaffiliated voters in the state could derail more conservative candidates in Republican primaries to the benefit of establishment Republicans.
Meanwhile, SB 749 would alter the composition of North Carolina election boards. According to The Hill, the measure stipulates that state and county election boards “will now be appointed with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans” rather than “being controlled by the party of the governor.”
Activists concerned about the transparency and security of U.S. elections have since applauded North Carolina Republicans for overriding Cooper’s veto of SB 747. In a statement provided to The Federalist, Jason Snead, the executive director of the Honest Elections Project, praised Republicans’ maneuver and classified the bill as a major win for election integrity.
North Carolina Republicans’ “resolve in the face of political attacks and an obstructionist governor is a model for the nation,” Snead said. “Now they must be prepared to confront even more obstructionism, this time from left-wing attorneys … who have already pledged to file a lawsuit challenging SB 747 in court, just as they did with North Carolina’s voter ID provision, gumming up yet another democratically enacted election integrity law in the state.”
Ken Cuccinelli, who serves as chair of the Election Transparency Initiative, also celebrated the legislature’s veto override.
“We thank the House and Senate and the bills’ champions for their diligence throughout a lengthy process, and urge their continued attention to these critical issues next legislative session so voters are equipped with the confidence and certainty they deserve,” Cuccinelli said in a statement.”
This article has been updated since publication to include a quote from ETI Chair Ken Cuccinelli.