RALEIGH -- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed Republican-backed legislation that would eliminate judicial primaries next year.

The Democratic governor said Monday the legislation would erode voters' ability to choose judges. The bill would eliminate primaries for 2018 judicial races ranging from Supreme Court to district court. It left November general elections in place.

GOP legislative leaders have said eliminating the primaries would give them more time to study possible changes to judicial election districts.

The legislation also would have reduced requirements for unaffiliated candidates in state and local elections among other changes.

Monday marks the 13th time the first-term governor has issued a veto, with most already overridden by the GOP-controlled General Assembly. Legislative leaders didn't immediately respond to an email asking if they planned an override this time.