Social rights groups hold town hall over six proposed constitutional amendments on fall ballot

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Dozens of people packed a conference room at the UNC Hospitals Hillsborough Campus Sunday afternoon to discuss the six proposed constitutional amendments that will be on the fall ballot.

"The polling has showed that people know very little about the constitutional changes that are at the end of their ballot this fall, so we thought it was really important that we did hit the road and educate people and inform people about what we're calling dishonest amendments," explained Jen Jones with Democracy North Carolina, one of the social rights organizations taking part in the town hall.

The event focused on the six proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot, breaking them down and explaining them to the room full of voters.

"When you go through these amendments, even the judicial power grab, the elections ethics power grab, and connect them easily to the other amendments in the amount they will cost, their partisanship, and how expansive they are," explained Jones.

NC Democracy and the groups participating in the session are opposed to all six proposed amendments.

Two of the most discussed amendments focus on judicial vacancies and the elections board. If passed, it would shift power from the governor to the legislature.

In August, all five living former governors held a press conference where they shared their opposition to those amendments.

Following the press conference, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore shared their disagreement, and released the following statement:

We respectfully disagree with these governors that the people deserve no input on the filling of judicial vacancies, and that our state's elections and ethics board should be a partisan controlled body despite its key role in our democratic process. While it's not surprising former governors oppose checks and balances on the unilateral authority of their office, we are confident the people will support a more accountable approach to filling judicial vacancies and approve a bipartisan balance on critical boards like the state's ethics and elections commission over a system of purely political control.

Another hot-button issue: Voter ID.

Speaker Moore described it as a "commonsense measure to secure the integrity of our elections system."

But Jones says studies don't back up concerns of widespread voter fraud.

"1,400 people have been prevented from voting because of voter ID in a low turnout 2016 election when we had it. One person would have been potentially stopped. We think the harm is greater than the benefit," Jones said, adding the current system in the state is working.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports North Carolina is one of 16 states that do not require any documentation at the polls in order to vote. Washington DC also does not require any documentation.

Democracy North Carolina is traveling the state holding these town halls to try and meet with as many voters as possible. They have also set up a telephone hotline to assist individuals who have trouble voting.

Sunday's town hall was hosted by Northern Orange NAACP.

You can click here to learn more about the six proposed constitutional amendments.

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