Fayetteville asks N.C. Appeals Court to block ballot measure on council elections | Eastern North Carolina Now | Fayetteville and its council members have asked the N.C. Court of Appeals to intervene in a dispute about the "Vote Yes Fayetteville" ballot referendum.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is CJ Staff.

    The city of Fayetteville has filed emergency paperwork with the N.C. Court of Appeals to block printing of local election ballots. Officials are raising concerns about a referendum that would change the way the city elects its governing board.

    Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons ruled on Sept. 1 in favor of petitioners seeking a change in the Fayetteville City Council's structure. Ammons determined that the petitioners had met legal requirements to place their "Vote Yes Fayetteville" measure on the November ballot.

    It would replace Fayetteville's current system of nine council districts. The number of district seats would drop to five, while four council members would be elected in at-large citywide elections.

    "A local board of elections should not be forced to print ballots that are invalid. Yet that is precisely what the trial court's decision mandates, and in the absence of a temporary stay and writ of supersedeas, that is precisely what will occur," wrote attorney Karen McDonald, who represents the city and its council members.

    The city is seeking a temporary stay of Ammons' order, along with legal "writs" that would guarantee an Appeals Court review of the case.

    "The underlying dispute arose when the Cumberland County Board of Elections confirmed to the Fayetteville city council that one of the statutory requirements for the 'Vote Yes Fayetteville' petition was not met," McDonald wrote. "A valid initiative petition must meet certain statutory requirements. First and foremost, it must be registered with the relevant board of elections."

    "The General Assembly made this requirement explicit, requiring that any initiative petition 'shall be registered,'" McDonald added. "Once registered, a one-year clock begins, during which the petition sponsor must obtain the requisite number of authorized signatures - here, at least 5,000. A petition becomes void and of no further effect one year after the notice of its circulation is registered, and 'no election or referendum shall thereafter be called or held pursuant to or based upon any such void petition.'"

    "Here, as the Board of Elections confirmed, a notice of circulation for the petition at issue was never registered with the Cumberland County Board of Elections," the city's brief continued. "So the petition sponsors never started the one-year statutory clock to obtain signatures. Because the city council can only call a special election '[u]pon receipt of a valid initiative petition,' they voted against adding the 'Vote Yes Fayetteville' referendum to the November 2022 ballot. Indeed, under the unambiguous requirements set forth by the General Assembly, the petition was invalid."

    The city takes issue with Ammons' ruling. "The trial court viewed things differently. Faced with the same unambiguous registration requirement, the trial court carved out an exception: It determined that because 'there is always a little gray in the law,' so long as the petition complied with some of the statutory requirements that the General Assembly explicitly required, it was good enough to pass statutory muster," McDonald wrote.

    Ammons ordered the Cumberland County elections board to include the "Vote Yes Fayetteville" referendum on the general election ballot. That includes ballots for early voting, which must be available this Friday, according to the city's legal filing.

    "Fast-tracking the referendum onto November's ballot does not provide Plaintiffs with a palpable benefit, nor is it required by law," McDonald wrote. "Nevertheless, Fayetteville's voters will soon head to the ballot box to vote for something that may ultimately mean nothing."

    The city has asked the Appeals Court to place the case on a shortened timeline. That includes setting Thursday as a deadline to respond to the city's motions.

    If the Appeals Court rules in favor of Fayetteville city leaders after Friday, some voters might be required to receive "replacement ballots," according to city officials' legal filing.
Go Back


Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )




Governor Cooper Announces State Boards and Commissions Appointments Carolina Journal, Editorials, Op-Ed & Politics ‘A Christmas Story’ Sequel Will Drop This Year. Here’s When To Expect It


HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Vice President Kamala Harris is spearheading a White House initiative to electrify the nation’s school buses, the administration announced Wednesday.
A spokesman for Santa's Workshop today announced the organization's latest advance in their ongoing efforts to determine who's naughty and who's nice
politization of leadership is biggest public concern
Twitter CEO Elon Musk said Monday that he will soon be releasing files on how the social media platform has engaged in suppressing free speech.
In the age of wokeness, ideological (re)education trumps mission-preparedness.
A new book alleges that after Ted Kennedy left his car and his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, in a pond off of Chappaquiddick Island, where Kopechne drowned, he returned to the party they had attended and told his close friends he wanted to say Kopechne was driving the car.

HbAD1

Hawaii’s largest active volcano began erupting Sunday night, with lava flow warnings issued to the surrounding area.
Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed this morning that he's prepared to remove the Twitter app from the App Store but that he's waiting for orders from CCP President Xi before he makes a move.
A wave of Twitter users began impersonating government officials and major corporations after Elon Musk introduced a new scheme for verifying users on the platform.
In a dramatic ruling issued just days before midterm elections, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling and ordered the transfer of millions of dollars to pay for a school improvement plan designed to ensure North Carolina’s school children receive a sound basic education
Chest reconstruction surgeries performed on minors across the United States increased by approximately 400% during a three-year span, according to a new report.
bill would subsidize MSM, leave out conservative media

HbAD2

Christine McVie, the English singer-songwriter who helped launch the rock band Fleetwood Mac into international fame, has died. She was 79.

HbAD3

 
Back to Top