The North Carolina legislature sent to Governor McCrory for approval a bill that would revamp the state’s elections, including eliminating public financing for appellate judicial elections. Created in 2002 by the Judicial Campaign Reform Act, the so-called “Voter-Owned Elections” program allowed candidates with qualifying contributions to receive a public grant to finance their campaigns and eliminated the need to seek campaign support from attorneys and others who may later appear before them in court. This was the first such program in the nation for statewide judicial candidates. According to the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, the program “had broad participation by court candidates over the past decade and . . . enjoyed strong public support.”
During this session, legislators also considered proposals to return the state to partisan judicial elections.