RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judicial panel says a law backed by Republican legislative leaders that cuts Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's role in managing elections is constitutional.

A three-judge panel on Tuesday met the state Supreme Court's deadline to explain why the judges earlier thought they lacked jurisdiction.

The law being challenged requires the State Board of Elections and all 100 county elections boards have equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. The law also makes other changes that ensure tighter Republican control of elections.

The judicial panel now says the law is valid because the governor picks elections board members from lists of names presented by both major political parties.

The state's highest court now will decide Cooper's lawsuit claiming the law violates North Carolina's constitution.