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Legislature backs up-or-down vote for NC justices

RALEIGH (AP) — The legislature has formally agreed to try another way of electing some judges to North Carolina’s highest court.

The General Assembly approved legislation Thursday giving most sitting state Supreme Court justices the option to be re-elected to additional eight-year terms in an up-or-down statewide vote, without a challenger. “Retention elections” are used in about 20 states.

With the House vote accepting Senate changes, the bill now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory, who must decide whether to let it become law or veto it. He hasn’t spoken publicly about it.

Democrats complained the bill looks like it’s designed to help Associate Justice Bob Edmunds, the only incumbent up for re-election in 2016. While judicial elections are officially nonpartisan, Edmunds is a registered Republican.

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