North Carolina’s first constitution was adopted in 1776; a second one was adopted in 1868 and revised in 1875. The present constitution went into effect on July 1, 1971. Amendments must be approved by three-fifths of each legislative house and by a majority of the electorate.
The executive branch of the government is headed by the governor, who is elected for a four-year term and may serve a maximum of two terms. The lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and heads of the agriculture, insurance, justice, labor, and public instruction departments are all elected to four-year terms. The lieutenant governor cannot serve more than two terms.
The General Assembly, or state legislature, has a Senate of 50 members and a House of Representatives of 120 members, all of whom are elected for two-year terms. North Carolina is the only state in which the governor does not have a veto power over laws approved by the legislature.
The highest court is the Supreme Court, which has a chief justice and six associate justices, all of whom are popularly elected to eight-year terms.
The courts are split into two divisions, trial and appellate. The intermediate appellate court is the court of appeals, with 12 judges, while the Supreme Court is the court of final jurisdiction. The trial courts are the district and superior courts of the state’s judicial districts.
The appellate justices and most superior court judges are popularly elected to eight-year terms, and district judges are elected to four-year terms.
Each of the state’s 100 counties is governed by its own board of commissioners elected every two years. Also elected are the sheriff, clerk of the superior court, registrar of deeds, treasurer, coroner, and members of the board of education. There are also many appointed officers, including the superintendents of schools and public welfare. Most large towns and cities are administered by city managers.
North Carolina is represented in the Congress of the United States by two senators and 13 representatives, giving the state 15 electoral votes in presidential elections. "North Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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