Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed N.C. Senate Bill 360 on Sept. 27, which aimed to strengthen checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches.
North Carolina Republican lawmakers introduced the bill to prohibit collusive settlements — also referred to as “settle-and-sue” cases — by the state's attorney general after absentee ballot laws were quickly changed in the lead-up to last year's elections.
The bill would have required the state's speaker of the house and president pro tempore of the state senate to cooperate with the attorney general to reach a settlement agreement when representatives of the General Assembly are named parties. In this case, the attorney general represents the executive branch, and the N.C. General Assembly represents the legislative branch.
“This bill is unconstitutional and unwise, and would prevent the Attorney General from doing his job to protect the people of North Carolina,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement.
Gov. Cooper served as the N.C. attorney general for 16 years before he was elected governor in 2016.
Nazneen Ahmed, press secretary for Attorney General Josh Stein, mirrored Cooper's statement.
"Our office believes that S.B. 360 was unwise and unconstitutional," Ahmed wrote in an email.
State Sen. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, Union, said in a tweet that he believes election integrity is vital to American democracy and added the bill would have prevented partisan schemes from originating in the attorney general's office.
“Gov. Cooper just deepened distrust in the electoral process at a time when we should focus on improving it,” Newton said in a tweet.