North Carolina: retention election system advances out of Senate committee, but limited to Supreme Court

Plans to change the way North Carolina’s Supreme Court justices are elected appear to be closing in on an elect/appoint then retention race system. HB 222 as first discussed here would create a two-step process

  1. Justices of the Supreme Court would be elected or appointed to fill an interim vacancy. Currently elections are nonpartisan, although there has been a push approved by the House to make these races partisan again.
  2. The justice would then be subject to a yes/no retention election and required to receive a simple majority (50% + 1) to remain in office.

Similar but not identical systems exist in Illinois and Pennsylvania: Illinois justices must recent a 60% yes vote while Pennsylvania justices run initially in partisan races.

A key difference between the NC House approved version of HB 222 and what is coming out of the Senate appears to be what judges are covered; the House also included Court of Appeals judges while the Senate wants the Supreme Court only.

News reports indicate the Senate version of HB 222 could be voted on as early as today (5/28).