NORTH CAROLINA (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Governor Roy Cooper has sued Republican legislative leaders, saying their changes to the State Board of Elections and county boards of elections violate the separation of powers established in the state constitution.

The new changes were a part of Senate Bill 749, which would gridlock state elections and violate the separation of powers, according to the lawsuit filed in Wake County Superior Court.

The bill, which Governor Cooper vetoed, would establish an eight-member State Board and four-member county boards, with all members appointed by the General Assembly and an even partisan split, Cooper’s office said. The current State Board has five members appointed by the Governor, with at least two members from each major political party, and has successfully implemented fair elections in each cycle, Cooper’s office explained.

Several years ago in 2018, the North Carolina Supreme Court rejected the attempt by legislative Republicans to create an eight-member, evenly-divided State Board of Elections.

Following that loss, Republicans tried to amend the Constitution to do the same thing, however, it was rejected by voters with 61% of the vote, Cooper’s office said.

“The deadlocks that will be created on these new Boards of Elections at the state and local levels likely will reduce early voting and create longer lines at the polls. It will also undermine fair elections and faith in our democracy by sending disputes to our highly partisan legislature and courts,” Governor Cooper said in a released statement. “Both the Courts and the people have rejected this bad idea and the meaning of our Constitution doesn’t change just because the Supreme Court has new Justices.”

This is a developing story; check back for updates