NC bill would require a special election if politicians make party switch

RALEIGH, N.C. — Elected officials who switch parties would be held accountable if a new bill filed in the North Carolina Senate becomes law.

Senate Bill 748, or the “Voter Fraud Prevention Act,” was filed Tuesday. Its sponsors include Mecklenburg County’s Democratic Sen. Natasha Marcus.

The goal of the legislation is to require a special election when an elected or appointed official, or a member of the General Assembly, changes their party affiliation. That election would be required when the official has more than six months of their term left, and their office would be considered vacated at that point.

If the bill becomes law, it would also require campaign contributions to be returned upon the donor’s request.

“Political party affiliation switches by seated legislators may have profound consequences for those legislators’ constituents and all residents of North Carolina,” the bill reads.

Both major parties have had members switch their affiliations.

The bill mentions an unnamed legislator who switched parties fewer than six months after they were sworn in. In April, Channel 9 reported Democratic Rep. Tricia Cotham switched party affiliations to join the Republican Party. The move gave the Republican Party a supermajority in the North Carolina House, meaning the Republican legislators can override a veto by Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper.

Before that, Rep. William Brisson switched parties in 2017.

“It’s time we did something to give voters tools to hold their elected representatives accountable and give political donors the right to seek a refund if their contributions are based on a false impression of the candidate,” Sen. Marcus said in a statement.

(WATCH BELOW: Democratic leaders hold rally in Charlotte in response to Tricia Cotham’s party switch)